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Sep 27

Can Your Car’s Navigation System Make You More Green? You Bet!

GPS navigation systemUsing a Global Positioning System (GPS) in your car can have a huge impact on how much gas you use as well as wear and tear on your car. You can use your GPS to conserve gas by getting you to your destination easily without having to stop to ask for directions, taking wrong turns, retracing roads and several other gas-saving functions.

Using a GPS can reduce the time it takes to get where you need to go. It can find a better route between two points that can mean a shorter driving distance, which will save time and gas. If the route has fewer stops and starts, so much the better. This will increase your gas mileage. Driving fewer miles will also reduce the car’s emissions.

Take it a step further by using your Navigation System to conserve fuel by getting live traffic data. Many GPS systems will give live traffic data which can be used to find a less congested route. Sitting in a traffic jam burns a lot of gas while your engine idles. Driving very slowly and stopping and starting uses a lot of gas.

One of the main ways to use your GPS to conserve fuel is by getting good directions. Getting lost is one of the best ways to use fuel unnecessarily. You spend time and money trying to find the right way. With a GPS you will get it right the first time. It will also have spoken directions, so you don’t make mistakes and take the wrong off-ramp.

Some of the latest navigation systems can find the route that uses the least gas. This may not be the quickest way to your destination, but it will take less fuel to get there. It uses data such as the expected average speed on different roads. This is called Green Routing or Eco-routing. These programs are sophisticated enough to consider factors such as going up hills, which takes more gas, slowing down while going around curves, then speeding up and stoplights and stop signs. Stopping and then accelerating takes more gas.

The route chosen by the GPS may have lower speed limits than other roads to the same destination. Lower speed limits are more fuel efficient. When a car is moving in its highest gear, every mile per hour faster takes more and more fuel. In this case, a straight road without stop signs or stoplights and a speed limit of 50 miles per hour will use less fuel than a 65 mile per hour freeway.

With your GPS you will put fewer miles on your car. This not only saves fuel but also reduces wear and tear, which will make your car last longer. In some vehicles, there is a 15 per cent reduction in fuel use when they use the eco-route. In other vehicles the reduction is around six per cent.

Most cars have a built-in GPS system, but if yours doesn’t, a portable unit is a good investment. Make sure you get one that has the eco-friendly features including traffic data. It can save you hundreds of dollars on fuel costs.

About the Author

Robert Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.

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