Google Maps brings its eco-friendly routing feature to Europe

7 Sep 2022

Image: Google

Launched in the US last year, the feature shows users the most fuel-efficient route alongside the fastest one in a bid to save on costs and reduce emissions.

Google Maps is rolling out is eco-friendly routing feature in nearly 40 countries across Europe starting today (7 September).

First announced last year, the feature has been allowing users of Google Maps in the US and Canada to choose their routes based on fuel efficiency, even if it isn’t the fastest option.

Now available in Europe, eco-friendly routing is expected to help users save on costs at a time when energy prices are skyrocketing and reduce their carbon emissions. Road transportation is one of the leading sources of emissions in Europe.

Users who enable the feature on the app will be shown both the fastest route to their destination as well as the most fuel-efficient one – in case they are different.

“With just a few taps, you can see the relative fuel savings and time difference between the two routes and choose the one that works best for you,” Rubén Lozano-Aguilera, a product manager at Google Maps, wrote in a blogpost announcement.

Those who wish to only see the fastest route always can adjust their preferences in settings accordingly.

Google estimates that since launching in the US and Canada, the new feature has helped remove more than half a million metric tonnes of carbon emissions – which it said is equivalent to taking 100,000 fuel-based cars off the road.

An additional feature that will soon be rolled out will allow European users to choose their vehicle’s engine type – petrol, diesel, hybrid or EV – on the Google Maps app to get personalised suggestions for the most fuel-efficient routes based on the engine.

Google said the features were made possible because of data from the European Environment Agency and insights from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

“By pairing this information with Google Maps driving trends, we were able to develop advanced machine learning models trained on the most popular engine types in a given region,” Lozano-Aguilera wrote.

The move is part a broader push by the tech giant to be more climate friendly. After a 2020 commitment to emit zero emissions by the end of the decade, Google announced a spate of app updates last year to help users lower their carbon emissions by making informed decisions.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic