Old Sligo petrol station

First things first: you fuel up your car at petrol stations, not gas stations in Ireland. “Gas” in Ireland refers to natural gas, which you would use to heat your home. Other than that, petrol stations in Ireland are virtually identical to those you’ll find in the U.S. The main difference is that by American standards, petrol is very expensive. As of July 2019, it’s averaging around $1.60 per liter, which comes out to about $6.05/gallon. In major cities, it’s usually a bit more expensive.

Top brands of Irish petrol stations

The main brands of petrol stations in Ireland are:

  • Circle K (formerly Topaz)
  • Texaco
  • Shell
  • Esso
  • Applegreen

Petrol station locations

When planning a drive around Ireland, keep in mind  that petrol / gas stations in Ireland are not as plentiful as they are in the U.S. Most highways have stations spread out along them, but the motorways tend not to. In rural areas, it can be much harder to find stations, especially outside of the main villages or towns. A good rule of thumb is to always fill up when your gauge drops below 1/4 tank.

In suburban metropolitan areas, petrol stations look virtually identical to those in the U.S. In cities, though, they sometimes consist of nothing more than a pump or two in front of a residential building.

And in rural areas, it wouldn’t be unusual to have a gas pump in front of a small building with no signs or other indications that petrol was for sale there.

Rural petrol station, Ireland

Photo courtesy of Google Maps, 2019

Normal hours

Many petrol stations on or near motorways and highways remain open 24 hours. In small towns, though, they usually close around 10pm or 11pm.

Pumping at petrol stations

In nearly all locations, you pump the petrol yourself. However, unlike most places in the U.S., in Ireland you pump first and then go inside to pay for it. Also keep in mind that many rental cars take diesel fuel, not gasoline, so make sure you know which your car requires before starting to pump.

Paying at petrol stations

Ireland is a fully-developed nation, so credit cards are nearly universally accepted at petrol stations. If using an American credit card, you’ll likely be asked if you want the transaction to be done in US dollars or Euros. It’s counter-intuitive, but always pay in Euros. The reason is, if you opt to pay in US dollars, the merchant can decide what the exchange rate is and it will almost always be poor. If you pay in Euros, your credit card company will decide the exchange rate when they post the transaction to your account.

Related links

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Destinations, Ireland, Travel Tips