If you're familiar with Google's sustainability efforts, you know the company is committed to making greener choices. Now, these efforts are extending to consumers with the launch of Google Maps eco-friendly driving directions. The new feature was announced earlier this year and began rolling out on October 6.
In addition to displaying the fastest route available, Google Maps will also show users the most fuel-efficient route. The company estimates that eco-friendly routing may potentially prevent over 1 million tons of carbon emissions per year, which is equal to removing more than 200,000 cars from the road.
Whether you're using Google Maps eco-friendly driving directions on an Android phone or an iPhone or iPad, the step-by-step process is relatively easy.
How to find eco-friendly driving directions in Google Maps
- Open the Google Maps app on your preferred device.
- Enter your destination or select it on the map.
- At the bottom left, select Directions.
At the top, select Driving.
- At the top right, select ... More.
- Select Route options.
- Select Prefer fuel-efficient routes.
- Select Done.
There are some important factors to keep in mind when it comes to using Google Maps eco-friendly directions. When you have these preferred settings in place, Google Maps will eventually start defaulting to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has roughly the same ETA as the fastest route.
Fortunately, it only takes a few taps to view the relative fuel savings and ETA difference between the two routes and select the one that works best for you. If you only want to see the fastest route each time you use Google Maps, you can adjust your settings accordingly.
This new routing model is designed to help users arrive at their destinations as quickly as possible, but it also optimizes for lower fuel consumption to create a more eco-friendly route, which saves you money on fuel. Google Maps eco-friendly driving directions are possible thanks to AI as well as valuable insights from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The eco-friendly routing feature is currently rolling out on Android and iOS in the U.S.
The eco-friendly routing feature is currently rolling out on Android and iOS in the U.S. Google has plans to expand to Europe and beyond in 2022. However, that's not all the company is doing to improve sustainability efforts. If you haven't heard, the company is also working on rolling out lite navigation for cyclists.
This feature will allow users to quickly view important details about their route without keeping their screen on or entering turn-by-turn navigation mode. This makes it much easier to track your trip progress, see your ETA updated in real-time, and know the elevation of your route while keeping your focus on the road. Lite navigation will begin rolling out wherever cycling navigation is live on Android and iOS in the coming months.
Google understands the importance of eco-friendly alternatives to driving, which is why it helps to have options. The company has also expanded bike and scooter share information to over 300 cities around the world on both Android and iOS. You can find nearby stations and pinpoint how many vehicles are available at that moment in major cities such as New York, Berlin, New York, São Paulo, and more. When you're done, you can check and confirm there's a place to park before heading to the station.