In other words, Google Maps is now able to analyze all kinds of road information, including not only traffic but also constant speeds, road incline, and other information from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to determine an eco-friendly route to a destination.
Google says the route with the lowest carbon emissions should have nearly the same ETA as the fastest one, though there’s obviously a chance that in some cases, you could end up spending a few more minutes on the road because it’s not necessarily the fastest route.
Google Maps will also display an estimate of how efficient the provided route is, as it tries to calculate just how much fuel you can save by choosing the eco-friendly recommendation.
The fastest routes, however, aren’t going away. Once the update goes live, Google Maps will display both the fastest route and the fuel-efficient alternative in the preview screen before you start driving. This means you can see both routes on the map, view their ETAs, and decide which one to use.
Of course, Google hopes you’d use the eco-friendly route, especially because it has nearly the same ETA, but on the other hand, you’re the one to decide which one Google Maps should use, at least for now.
The Mountain View-based search giant says Google Maps could help prevent over one million tons of carbon emissions per year, all by simply providing users with alternative routes.