OK Google, can you slash the costs of my commute with eco-friendly routing?

·2-min read
Google confirmed that its Maps app will start to recommend the most fuel-efficient route, based on your vehicle’s powertrain (Google)
Google confirmed that its Maps app will start to recommend the most fuel-efficient route, based on your vehicle’s powertrain (Google)

Google confirmed today that its popular Maps app will start to recommend the most fuel-efficient route, based on your vehicle’s powertrain. This long-waited update will begin to roll-out today across the UK and 40 other countries.

The new feature will show the most efficient route for your vehicle, once you have told it whether you are driving a petrol, diesel, hybrid, or electric car. For instance, an EV driver might be taken onto minor roads because the stop-start traffic will help to recharge its batteries, due to the regenerative braking. Conversely, a diesel-car driver might be routed towards the main road or a motorway, where diesel engines tend to be most efficient.

Big G says that Maps will start to show routes that use less fuel if they have a similar ETA to other alternatives. The idea is to become more fuel efficient as well as eco-conscious.

This update will clearly benefit drivers that commute longer distances and are able to take advantage of many different kinds of roads, but there are potential benefits for urban motorists too. Petrol cars, for instance, might be routed to less trafficked roads to avoid those petrol-sucking traffic logjams, which will help to maintain more constant speeds.

The news is a welcome, if modest, filip for motorists struggling to cope with rampant prices. “Drivers need all the help they can get with the cost of petrol and diesel being so high, so this update could prove useful,” said RAC spokesperson, Rod Dennis.

Even though fuel prices have come down from their all-time highs recorded in July, they are still significantly above their levels a year ago. As of 6 September 2022, petrol costs 169.33p on average whereas diesel is 183.49p, according to the RAC – and this is around a third higher than the same prices last autumn.

However, Dennis cautioned drivers not to put their whole journey in the hands of Google’s technology, and still rely on their knowledge of roads to make the most fuel-efficient decision. A generous helping of common sense takes you a long way.

“Drivers should still take these route suggestions with a pinch of salt, as just a little unexpected traffic could be enough to lose all the cost benefits of driving a longer route” he added. “The biggest way for drivers to save fuel remains driving more efficiently in the first place”. You can learn more about the new feature here.