RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With gas prices still abnormally high, many are looking for ways to save the gas they have in the tank.
A lot of us are pretty familiar with apps that provide route guidance, but now Google has added a new wrinkle to its maps — a gas saving feature.
The pain at the pump is real, just ask anyone who drives for a living.
“I drive for Lyft and Instacart and I’m going to have to quit doing it and find a job,” said Mary Shivers. “I’m just making money to pay for gas. Every time I make more money, I spend it on gas.”
With thousands of miles of roads in the Triangle, it’s tough to know the best route.
Factor in traffic congestion and that’s a real fuel waster as you sit in a line of cars going nowhere — especially if you’re being paid to drive like Ryan Laches.
“I have to pay for my own gas,” he said. ”A few months ago, I was making more money than now. My income has been cut in half.”
Now you can use your Google maps app to tell you the most fuel-efficient way to get where you are going. It’s a new feature which will help those who want to save gas.
The map system now automatically calculates the most fuel-efficient route.
Using a complicated algorithm, it takes into account:
- Steepness of hills
- Speed limits
- Types of roads
- Average fuel consumption of other vehicles in your area
It uses other variables to show you exactly how much gas you’ll save and how much longer the route might take you.
The app will still show you the fastest route to your destination — but it will also allow you to pick the most fuel-efficient route, so you decide how you want to use your fuel.
Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia tested the feature, to navigate from our station in Raleigh to a specific location in Cary that was 13 miles away.
As part of the test, he chose the route at several different times a day using our station in Raleigh as the starting point to see if the results were always the same.
As it turned out, the app adjusted for conditions as the day progressed.
At different times of the day, the feature said it could save him between two and four percent in fuel usage depending on the route it chose at the time.
Those gas saving routes also added between two and four extra miles to the trip depending on traffic and other factors at the time of day the navigation was executed.
However, the most fuel-efficient route doesn’t necessarily have to be longer in miles.
Researchers have found many times, the fastest route the app choose also happened to be the most fuel-efficient route.
This feature is just in its infancy and as with many things, it will evolve and become even more sophisticated over time and offer more flexibly as its program “learns” and creators adjust it.
In these days of exorbitant fuel prices, however, it’s worth using right now to keep more gas in your tank when you drive.