Google Maps Feature Identifies Most Fuel-Efficient Routes

A new feature highlights routes that use the least gas to help users make the most fuel-efficient driving decisions.

1 minute read

July 25, 2023, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Google maps directions showing "saves gas" route

Google Maps / Google Maps

Have you noticed the “Saves gas” option in your Google Maps directions? Plug in a destination and you’ll likely receive several options, one of which will be labeled as the most fuel-efficient one.

According to an article by Justine Calma in The Verge, “Google uses a machine learning model to predict which route is the most fuel- or energy-efficient and recommends it to Maps users. If the most fuel-efficient route is also the fastest, Google Maps will default to that option.” The company says drivers have used these suggested routes to save roughly 1.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions since it launched the tool in 2021.

Users can also provide additional information, such as whether they drive an electric car, to get more accurate results. “To be sure, taking public transit, biking, or walking are still more sustainable alternatives, and Google says it’s working to make Maps easier to use outside of driving.”

Calma points out that “Google produces exponentially more pollution than any household, of course. Its carbon footprint added up to more than 10.18 million metric tons of CO2 emitted in 2022, roughly equivalent to pollution from more than 25 gas-fired power plants in a year.”

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