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How to Use Google Maps’ Fuel-Efficient Routes

  • Google Maps can suggest fuel-efficient driving routes that will save you gas money.
  • If Google Maps finds a driving route that uses less gas without taking more time, it’ll put you on that route.
  • If you don’t want to use Google Maps’ fuel-efficient routes, you can select another route or turn them off.

The worst part of owning a car has to be paying for gas, which takes money and time. Even electric vehicles have to charge, which can be a drag if you run out of power in the middle of your trip.

That’s why Google Maps now offers a “fuel-efficient” route mode, which is built to save time, energy, and money. Here’s how it works.

Google Maps’ fuel-efficient routes save money by using less gas

When you ask Google Maps for driving directions, it’ll usually give you two or three different routes that you can choose to follow. If you look closely, you’ll notice that one of these routes has a leaf icon on it — that means it’s the fuel-efficient route that uses the least amount of energy.

These routes aren’t always as fast as the others, but they take more direct paths with smoother traffic and less hills to reduce how much gas you burn. Although the difference might seem small, the savings will add up if you use Google Maps a lot.

A set of driving directions in the Google Maps iPhone app, with the eco-friendly route highlighted.

Look for the leaf icon.

Google; William Antonelli/Insider

Aside from saving money, these fuel-efficient routes are also more eco-friendly. Burning less fuel means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — Google estimates that eco-friendly routes could save enough gas every year to equal “removing over 200,000 cars from the road.”

Here’s how to use fuel-efficient routes, or how to turn the feature off if you prefer to always use the fastest route.

How to use fuel-efficient routes in Google Maps

Fuel-efficient routes are enabled by default in the iPhone and Android Google Maps apps. If you’re getting directions and the fuel-efficient route is the fastest, or not significantly slower than the other routes, Google Maps will automatically put you on that route.

Once you’ve picked a route, you can swipe up on the panel at the bottom of the screen to see how much fuel you’ll save on that route. Fuel-efficient routes usually save between 5% and 15%.

Driving directions in the Google Maps iPhone app, with the message explaining how much fuel is being saved highlighted.

You can see how much fuel Google expects to save with the eco-friendly route.

Google; William Antonelli/Insider

If you’d prefer to always take the fastest route instead, you can turn off default fuel-efficient routes. When you reach the screen that shows you all the available routes, tap the three dots in the top-right corner and then select Route options. Toggle off the Prefer fuel-efficient routes setting.

Once turned off, Google Maps will still mark the fuel-efficient route with the leaf icon, but won’t default to putting you on that path.

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