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One very good reason to rent an economy car in Ireland

Old Petrol Pump Ireland

Old Petrol Pump, Beara Peninsula, Co Cork

You’ll often find that people will spend countless hours researching various car rental companies, and getting as many quotes as possible, before finally settling on the company they wish to rent from. They have good reason to! Renting a car in Ireland can be expensive, so doing the research could save you a lot of money.
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What people spend less time analyzing is the cost of gas (petrol) in Ireland. From one gas station to another there won’t be a vast difference in cost per litre, but by renting an economy car, you may save quite a bit over the course of your stay. Here’s why.

The average cost of petrol in Ireland at the moment (Jan/Feb 2013) is approx €1.58 per litre. Why litre, you may ask. Litre’s are what you will see as the unit of measure for gas prices in Ireland. It equates to approx .26 of a US gallon, or you could say 1 US gallon = 3.785 litres.
That being said, 1 US gallon of gas would cost you approximately €5.98 which at an exchange rate of €1 = $1.34, would run you 8.01 in US dollars.

Sounds like a lot doesn’t it! I guess it is. Especially if you’re coming from let’s say Wyoming where the current average price for a gallon of gas is less than $3, or even if you’re visiting from Hawaii, where it’s slightly over $4.

Knowing these numbers, you don’t need me to tell you, that if you rent some gas-guzzlin’ 4X4, or a high powered sports car, you’re gonna need deep pockets. So….my advice, rent something that’s easy on the fuel. I always rent something pretty small when I’m back home for a visit. That way I don’t feel the pinch at the pump, quite so hard.

Here’s an example of how much you could save:
Let’s say you plan to drive 500 miles.
Renting a Nissan Micra that might give you somewhere around 55MPG will mean you’ll need approx 9.1 gallons, which at the rate of $8.01/gallon will cost you $72.90.
With a higher powered car that might give you 28MPG, if driving 500 miles you’ll need 17.86 gallons at a cost of $143.
Of course, these figures are estimates, based on approximate MPGs and cost of gas, but you get the general idea. Due to Ireland’s high fuel costs, you will save some money if you are prepared to rent a smaller vehicle. But of course, the choice is yours, and you’ll want to consider all factors before making your final rental car decision e.g. safety, comfort, size, luggage space, transmission type etc.

I hope this Travel Tip helps you save some money during your stay in Ireland.

note: all calculations are estimates, based on average gas prices and currency exchange rates at time of publishing. Be sure to research current exchange rates and costs of fuel to calculate your estimated cost of travelling in Ireland.


  1. Liam – this is such a helpful (and accurate) piece! Renting a car in Ireland is sometimes more costly than the airfare (from DC, that is). Luckily, when I’m there, most of my driving is very local, so once I get to my destination, I don’t use a whole lot of fuel…but for those who like to take a jaunt, that fuel price can add up quickly.

    Very helpful article…!

    • Thanks Elizabeth! I get lucky when I’m back home too in that my brother can lend me his car most of the time. I save a ton on rental that way. And, he’s car is not to heavy on the juice, so it works out even better 🙂
      People are always so surprised at the cost of petrol in Ireland – it is quite high. I’m sure when the Irish travel to the states for the first time, they must think it’s being practically given away.

  2. Great tips Elizabeth! We rented a peanut of a car while there and were so glad of it not only to manage our funds but also to manage some (in fact many!) of the narrow roads there!