Fuel prices are rising and travel is getting much more expensive, but free apps like Google Maps offer features that can help you save big on fuel and travel costs.
If you’re in the US, Google Maps will not only suggest the fastest route, it will also show you the cheapest route – marking the route with a green leaf next to the travel time. If the fastest and cheapest route is the same, Google will only show you one option.
The most fuel efficient route is determined by a few factors. Generally, it avoids areas most at risk of traffic congestion, offers routes with more constant speed, and tries to stay as flat as possible.
Tapping the route details will show you how much fuel you can save. While not always huge across multiple trips, your savings can be quite significant – allowing you to make a lot more trips between refills.
Eventually, you’ll have to go to a gas station – but Google still has you covered. You won’t have to go around looking for the best deals in person and burning off your precious fuel, Maps can tell you where to go before you leave.
Open Google Maps on your smartphone and in the search bar you will see quick search option buttons for “Restaurants”, “Cafe” and others. Scroll along and you’ll see one for “Gas” next to an icon for a gas pump. Tap on it and all your local gas stations will be highlighted.
Once they’re all lit up on your map, you should also see gas prices at each station, allowing you to find the one that offers the best deal.
You’ll want to make sure it’s open before you exit too, and you can do that by tapping the “Open Now” filter button in the search bar. Clicking on “More filters” will also help you find wheelchair accessible options or see which gas stations are open at a specific time and date.
Not all gas stations post their prices on Google Maps, but according to our tests, most do, so you can be sure you’ll pay the best price the next time you fill up.
Other ways Google Maps can save you money
Another big expense that can come from driving is paying tolls. You probably already knew that Google Maps can offer route suggestions that avoid tolls altogether, but now you can also pre-warn how expensive they will be.
This feature is relatively new – it was only released in april 2022 (opens in new tab) – so don’t expect all roads to have been added yet, but tapping into the details of your route before you leave, you’ll see how expensive the tolls will be. Using this information, you can better assess the pros and cons of taking a toll road on your journey.
You can also stop driving and use Google Maps to find the best public transport or bike path for your trip. Sometimes you can’t avoid having to drive, but using an alternative option when possible can help you reduce your fuel costs.
If you’re looking for other Google Maps tips, why not check out our guide to five things you didn’t know Google Maps could do?
Have you read this? So check out five more things you didn’t know Google Maps could do… 10 is enough to get you started, okay?