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How to save money on public transport in Norway

If you live in one of Norway’s bigger cities, owning a car isn’t always necessary, and costs can be high. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative and affordable ways to get around.

How to save money on public transport in Norway
Photo: Gunnar Ridderström on Unsplash

On two wheels

In many of the major cities in Norway, the options for how to get around are abundant. 

Cycling is growing in popularity in Norway, including battery-assisted cycling. According to Statistics Norway, electric bicycle imports increased 42 percent between 2017 and 2018. 

City planners are taking notice of this surge in popularity and thinking ahead. Currently, nine different cities around Norway (Bergen, Stavanger, Bodø, Tromsø, Trondheim, Oslo, Moss, city areas Fredrikstad-Sarpsborg and  Buskerudbyen) are conducting research on bike traffic to find out the best place for future bicycle lanes, according to NRK.

If you like the idea of cycling but are not ready to purchase one, check to see if your city or town has bicycle sharing programmes. In addition to it being low-cost and convenient, it’s also a great way to learn your way around a new city. You can buy a monthly subscription, season pass, or a one-time access.

By downloading the app, you can find a bike at a station close to you and check where to drop off bike when you are finished. There are over 280 parking and pick-up and drop-off stations around Oslo for the city's bysykkel, or city bike. For more information about pricing and how Oslo city bikes are operated, look here.

On four wheels 

Nabobil is a private car rental platform that is available in many parts of Norway. It has been in business since 2015 and has over 200,000 completed leases and over 7,000 cars available for rent, according to news wire NTB

If you are in need of a car for a short term period and have a valid driver’s license, then this could be a more convenient and low-priced option than going through a traditional car rental company. The cost differentiates between cars as it is up to the car’s owner to set a price (which also includes insurance and roadside assistance). Look here for further details.

If it is necessary for you to own a car, you can save a lot of money by choosing an electric vehicle.

Unlike diesel or gasoline cars, which are heavily taxed, electric cars benefit from a very generous tax system, making their purchase prices relatively competitive.

There is also a huge discount on tolls if you are driving an electric vehicle, and cheaper parking (depending on where you are). You can also only be charged a maximum of half the price paid by diesel vehicles when on a ferry.  

READ ALSO: Electric car sales in Norway motor to new high

Public transportation

The public transportation in Norway's cities is known for being both reliable and affordable. Like cycling, this method of transport has also increased in popularity. According to Statistics Norway, there has been a 35.5 percent increase in public transportation use from 2009 to 2019.

The government wants to continue to see an increase of use in public transportation and, in the National Transport Plan for 2018-2029, specifically seeks to increase public passenger transport in big cities. The government says it will do this by making an effort to make collective transport accessible for all, increase its effectiveness, and to make it the best transport option. This includes the price, comfort, and travel time. 

Discounts on public transportation are offered to many groups including seniors, youth, and students. Look here for a list of ticket pricing with Ruter, the the public transport authority for the Oslo and Akershus counties. 

Helpful facts and vocabulary 

  • elsparkesykkel – electric scooter 
  • sykkelsti – bike path 
  • billett – ticket 

If you are looking to buy a bicycle for a low price check on online marketplace Finn.no. Used bikes can be found on Finn throughout the year. 

Depending on where you are originally from, the option of taking a taxi may once have been a low-cost option. This is not the case in Norway! Taxis are notoriously more (way more) expensive than public transportation. Especially during the hours with surge pricing and on public holidays like May 17th, Norway's national day.

Uber recently returned to Norway after a three-year absence, due to a change in the law which allows the company to operate again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For members

MONEY

How and where to get the cheapest fuel in Norway

Norway is leading the pack when it comes to the sales of new electric vehicles. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all new car sales in this country are electric. But for petrol and diesel car owners who have yet to make the switch, knowing when and where to find the cheapest fuel can end up saving you thousands of kroner.

A petrol station in Norway in 2021. Refuelling your car is a pricey business in the Nordic country, but there are ways to limit costs.
A petrol station in Norway in 2021. Refuelling your car is a pricey business in the Nordic country, but there are ways to limit costs. Photo by Malik Skydsgaard on Unsplash

Why is it so expensive to fuel up?

Fuel – gasoline, petrol and diesel — is an expensive monthly bill for many. Norway typically has some of the highest fuel prices in Europe. The at-times sky high prices are mainly due to taxes on fuel imposed by the government, as well as the usual international market factors.

The Norwegian Competition Authority or Konkurransetilsynet recently stated that it is perhaps now more important than ever before to be aware of the ever changing fuel prices.

We have registered price differences of 2-3 kroner in the same local area. There is undoubtedly money to be saved by following along,” said Marita Skjæveland, deputy leader of the Norwegian Competition Authority’s energy section to broadcaster TV2.

The average price to fuel up between the months of July to October this year was 18.8 kroner per litre (2.26 dollars or 1.94 euros). 

READ ALSO: Five things that are becoming more expensive in Norway (and why)

Does it matter which day you fuel up?

As of writing, routinely fueling your vehicle on a specific day of the week will likely no longer save you money. 

“We see that the players in the market still raise prices two to three times a week, but that it happens on different days from week to week,” Skjæveland told TV2. The competition analyst added that by the end of the year, fixed price increases may also happen over the weekend. As such, it’s important to stay updated not only on the weekdays, but on the weekends as well.

Previously, Sunday evenings and early on Monday mornings used to be known as the cheapest time to fill your vehicle’s tank with petrol or diesel.  This is now a practice of the past. 

Where can I find cheap petrol prices online?

Hunting for the cheapest fuel prices in Norway is quite common. It’s also a normal discussion to have with your neighbours and colleagues. So don’t be worried about appearing ‘cheap’ if you want to talk about the high price of fuel. Or share which local petrol stations you have noticed to be less expensive. 

You can check Facebook for groups that are committed to informing the public on where to find the cheapest petrol stations. 

For Oslo and its surrounding areas, you can try here, and if you live in or are driving through the south of Norway, check here.

Drivestoff is an app designed to compare prices of petrol stations you will drive by on your journey so you can plan ahead to get the cheapest fuel. You can find more information and download the app here.

You can also save money by looking for a queue of cars at a petrol station. Yes, it may be just busy. But oftentimes, a queue is a signal for cheaper petrol prices. 

Memberships and credit cards can save you money on fuel

If you’re in the market for a credit card, look for one that might save you money on fuel. Credit cards such as 365 Direct and Flexi VISA will give you good discount options at all petrol stations. If you have a particular station you always fill up at, such as a YX, you can sign up for the company’s credit card to receive discounts on fuel. 

There are also benefits to be had if you sign up for a credit card or a drivstoffkort or “fuel card”.

A drivstoffkort is a special credit card which you use to pay when refuelling your vehicle. The cards generally only work at the stations run by the company to which the card belongs. Different deals and types of card are available, depending on the company.

Specific deals on credit card and drivstoffkort discounts can be found (in Norwegian) here

You can sometimes use membership cards with grocery stores or real estate organisations to give you discounts on fuel. For example, the Coop Medlemskort will save you 45 øre when filling up at Circle K petrol stations. Trumf kortet, which is associated with the chains Kiwi, Meny, Joker and Spar, gives you bonuses when you fill up at Shell stations. OBOS members receive a 27 øre discount on petrol and diesel at both Statoil and 1-2-3-Automat stations. 

Where can I get the lowest priced petrol?

Petrol stations in Norway are extremely competitive. There is no one company that is known to sell gasoline or diesel cheaper than the others

Like many other goods, fuel prices around Norway will rise and fall with demand. Typically, fuel stations located in mountainous towns or areas that heavily rely on tourism will have more expensive fuel. If you’re on holiday in such a town or area, and can wait to fuel up when you get to a more trafficked motorway, it will likely save you money. 

Petrol stations that don’t have employees on location tend to be slower at increasing their prices to match the competition. So if you know you’ll be passing by an ubemannet or “unstaffed” petrol station on your trip, it may be cost-effective to wait and fill up there. 

Consider how much time you want to invest

Joining the hunt for cheaper fuel may not be for everyone. It is time consuming, and admittedly hard to achieve due to the ever-changing prices. If you are not dependent on your vehicle for your daily commute and don’t often drive long distances, fueling up at your local gas station may be the best choice. 

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