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Why Is Iceland Importing Ice?

If visiting Iceland is on your bucket list, be aware that prices in Reykjavik -- including restaurant meals, hotel stays, taxi rides, and especially alcohol -- are higher than in most other European capitals. High taxes in this small island nation of about 300,000 are mostly to blame. Even the price of ice is high in Iceland, and most people buy ice cubes, crushed ice, and ice blocks shipped in from Norway or Scotland, because it’s about 40 percent cheaper.

Low-cost fire, expensive ice:

  • Iceland, known as the Land of Fire and Ice, is ranked second in the Environmental Performance Index, and has earned a perfect score of 100 for its water quality.

  • “I find this completely insane, as I’m sure most people do,” says biologist Rannveig Magnúsdóttir, discussing the fact that other countries sell Icelanders ice.

  • Iceland is a world leader in renewable geothermal energy. Nearly 90 percent of Icelandic homes are heated with geothermal energy -- at half the cost of oil or electric heating.

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