Eco-Friendly Travel With Google Maps

May 05, 2021by Olivia - F&F

Google Maps is going green! Later this year, Google Maps users will be notified of the most ‘eco-friendly’ route to their destination — taking into account factors like heavy traffic, slopes/inclines and overall fuel efficiency. 

It’s all part of Google’s broader commitment to become carbon-free by 2030, and through this update, it’ll be easier for Google Maps users to choose the route that will produce the least amount of emissions. 

So, what will this update mean for you? Keep on reading to find out more!

Google Maps Eco-Friendly RouteGoogle Maps Eco-Friendly Route

What will this update mean for Google Maps users?

Fuel-efficient routes will first launch in the U.S. on Android and iOS later this year, and Australia will be included in the overall international rollout. 

“Soon, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route,” said Dean Glasgow, Google Maps’ VP of Product in a recent Google Blog.    

“In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose,” Glasgow said.

This update will make it easier for drivers to opt for the most fuel-efficient and eco-friendly route to their destination. The most fuel-efficient route may take less time, the same time, or more time — it all depends on your surroundings. 

A GIF in the Google Blog shows a screenshot of the eco-friendly update. In this example, we can see that taking the most fuel-efficient route would reduce the drivers CO2 emissions by 8%! This route, despite being two minutes longer, may avoid inclines or heavy traffic that use up lots of fuel. This update will be good for the planet, and maybe even good for your wallet!

Transport Emissions in AustraliaTransport Emissions in Australia

Transport Emissions in Australia

Globally, around 1 billion people use Google Maps every month, and nearly 70% of smartphone owners exclusively use Google Maps. Many of us rely on it for daily navigation, whether that’s via car, bus, bike, or on foot. 

In Australia, we’re highly dependent on cars. Our cities continue to grow and grow, and our public transport systems can’t keep up. This is why emissions from transport have increased by 64% since 1990. Currently, transportation accounts for approximately 19% of the nation’s total emissions.   

According to the Climate Council, car-dependent communities are experiencing negative impacts such as high transport costs and travel times, congestion, overcrowding, noise, air pollution, and reduced physical activity. 

Australians Biking To WorkAustralians Biking To Work

We Need to Make a Change

So, it’s clear that we need to change the way that we get from A to B. Aside from more public transport, our cities must become more pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly. This will give people more choice when it comes to sustainable transport. 

Nationally, we also need to work towards the transition to Electric Vehicles (EV). Instead of making it harder for people to purchase and use EV’s, our State Governments must encourage and facilitate their uptake. The ACT is setting a great example in its decision to give rebates for EV’s — read more here!  

As much as we’d all love to commute via bike or foot, many of us rely on our cars for daily transportation. This is why this Google Maps update will be really helpful to all car owners — it’ll provide us with the choice to be more eco-friendly. 


The more people that use this feature, the better. Collectively, we can all reduce our car-related emissions! You can read more about the Google Maps update here.  

Enjoyed this Eco News blog? Check out more on The Eco Hub.

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