Use this Google Maps trick to save money on gas and travel

A person shoving money into their car's fuel intake
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Arturs Budkevics)

Fuel prices are going through the roof and travel is getting much more expensive, but free apps like Google Maps offer features that could help you save big on your gas and travel costs.

If you’re in the US, Google Maps won’t just suggest the fastest route it’ll also show you the most fuel-efficient route – marking the route with a green leaf next to the travel time. If the fastest and most fuel-efficient route happens to be the same then Google will only show you the one option.

The most fuel-efficient route is determined by a few factors. Generally, it avoids areas at higher risk of traffic congestion, offers routes that are a more constant speed, and tries to remain as flat as possible. 

Tapping on the route’s details will show you just how much fuel you can save. While they may not always be massive over several trips your savings could be fairly significant – letting you get a lot more travel in between fuel-ups.

(Image credit: Google)

Eventually, you will have to head to a gas station – but Google still has you covered. You won’t need to go around searching for the best deals in person and burning through your precious fuel, Maps can tell you where to go before you set off.

Open up Google maps on your smartphone, and under the search bar you should see quick search option buttons for “Restaurants”, “Coffee”, and others. Scroll along and you’ll eventually see one for “Gas” next to an icon for a gas pump. Tap on this and all of your local gas stations will be highlighted.

Once they are all lit up on your map you should also see gas prices at each station, letting you find the one that offers the best deal. 

(Image credit: Future)

You’ll want to make sure it’s open before you head off too, and you can do this by taping on the “Open now” filter button under the search bar. Clicking “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, from our testing, most do so you can be fairly confident that you’ll be paying the best price next time you fill up your tank.

Other ways Google Maps could save you money 

Another big expense that can come from driving is having to pay tolls. You probably already knew that Google Maps can offer route suggestions that avoid tolls altogether, but it can now also pre warn you how expensive they’ll be.

This feature is fairly new – it only launched in April 2022 – so don’t expect all roads to have been added yet, but by tapping on your route’s details before setting off you’ll see how expensive the tolls will be. Using this info you can better weigh up the pros and cons of taking a toll road on your journey. 

(Image credit: Google)

You could also forgo driving altogether and use Google Maps to find the best public transport or cycle route for your journey. Sometimes you can’t avoid having to drive, but using an alternative option when possible could help you cut down on your fuel costs.

If you're looking for other Google Maps tips, why not check out our guide for five things you didn't know Google Maps could do?

Read that already? Then check out five more things you didn't know Google Maps could do... 10 is enough to be getting on with, OK? 

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.