Google maps out new feature for fuel-efficient routes

Drivers can choose a route on Google Maps that is optimised for lower fuel usage, helping them save money on fuel and reducing carbon emissions

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Google is rolling out a new feature in Europe to help people drive sustainably while saving money using its maps.

With the eco-friendly routing, drivers can choose a route on Google Maps that is optimised for lower fuel consumption, helping consumers save money on fuel and reduce carbon emissions.

Google Maps will now display not only the fastest route but also the most fuel-efficient route, enabling drivers across 40 countries in Europe to see the relative fuel savings and time difference between the two routes.

Drivers will be able to specify their vehicle’s engine type – i.e. petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric – so the route provided is bespoke to the type of fuel they are looking to save.

The technology is made possible by artificial intelligence (AI), which identifies all the viable routes and calculates the fuel usage for each, based on historic and real-time traffic patterns, road incline, road type and more.

Vehicles on the road account for nearly three-quarters of transport carbon emissions and are one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases worldwide.

Google launched the new feature to help address that and give people more choices on the routes they take and have a positive impact on the environment.

Since launching in the US and Canada, the new feature is already estimated to have helped remove more than half a million metric tons of carbon emissions – equivalent to taking 100,000 fuel-based cars off the road.

Data was provided by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the European Environment Agency (EEA).

Jeff Gonder, Center for Integrated Mobility Sciences at NREL said: “Not only does Google Maps’ eco-friendly routing bring NREL’s fuel-efficient technology from the lab to the road, but it has huge potential to significantly lower emissions and save drivers money on gas — something that’s good for both people and the planet.”