Google Maps Can Help You Use Less Fuel

A gas nozzle pumping gas into a car

© Tom Merton - OJO Images / Getty Images

Google rolled out a new eco-friendly tool this week that now offers drivers the option to find the most fuel-efficient route when looking up directions on its Maps application. You can also see how much you can save on fuel with the altered route.

Google Maps will default to the most eco-friendly route when the time it takes to make the trip is near the time for the fastest route. Users will be able to choose between the faster and the more sustainable route.

“We believe the feature will have the same impact next year as taking over 200,000 cars off the road,” CEO Sundar Pichai says.

Google Maps calculates fuel usage based on the road incline, traffic congestion, and traffic predictions.

The company this week launched several eco-friendly tools across its products aimed at helping consumers save energy costs or reduce emissions. For example, when users search for information about appliances, such as furnaces, dishwashers, and water heaters, results will identify the most cost-effective and sustainable options. Starting early next year, searches will do the same when consumers shop for a new car by highlighting green-friendly choices. Google Finance will show carbon usage data from CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, to show sustainability scores for companies. The tool will also soon include a sustainability score. Hotel searches also will include sustainability information. Also, Google’s Nest smart thermostat will offer a new service that allows users to shift heating and cooling to the times that reflect when the grid is cleanest or energy is least expensive.

“At the core of all of today’s updates is the concept of choice,” Sarah-Jayne Williams, a director of Google Maps, said during a virtual event announcing the changes on Tuesday. “By helping people understand when more sustainable routes, modes, or cars are available, we’re empowering them to choose the option that works best for their lifestyle.”