James Cridland

Feature request: a Google Maps “fuel-saver” mode

I live in a hilly area, and have noticed that Google doesn’t appear to plan routes based on altitude (for car driving). For a typical route for me, Google will go a slightly more direct route over the top of a hill, but there would be significant fuel savings if it routed me a flatter way, round the side of the hill instead.

Further, fast and consistent-speed roads are always better for fuel economy than slower roads, since you get worse fuel economy when driving slowly, or doing frequent start/stops.

If Google was to let you set navigation to favour flat routes within a (10%) tolerance of total navigation time, and to avoid traffic lights and favour consistent speeds, that would be brilliant. (It would be great to avoid turning across the traffic, too.)

Google has altitude data already, which is visible if you try choosing a bike journey, and has many years of data around where the traffic lights and slow points are. I suspect it already has all the data it would need to switch its algorithm.

Indeed, Google could probably calculate the amount of savings made, and work out how fuel it would save each of us (and each country in general).

Based on the number of Google Maps navigation requests per day, the amount of fuel saved could be many millions of dollars: and that goes for carbon emissions, too.

“At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything we do.”

Google has achieved many environmental benefits in its business, and has a sustainability website itself; and this change, which could be quite substantial, would be a quick PR win for the company, it would seem. (And if they were really smart, they’d incentivise us to use the envirommentally-friendly route with offers in the Play store.)

Just a thought, Mr and Mrs Google.

Does anyone have a way to get this in front of anyone who can make this happen?