According to a recent article in Fast Company Google is in the process of changing the default directions it gives you from point A to point B to be the route most eco-friendly.
“Instead of showing you the fastest route from point A to point B by default, it will show you the greenest route by default. By referencing data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy, Google will be calculating factors such as fuel consumption, road incline, and traffic congestion to provide to you the route that is as climate-friendly as possible.”
Google will show the greenest route by default when the estimated travel time from point A to point B using the climate-friendly route is close to the fastest or shortest routes. If the greenest route is much longer or slower, it will allow you to toggle between the fastest, greenest, and shortest and alternate routes. Currently, it allows you to toggle between the alternate routes but defaults to the fastest.
When Google changes its default route to the climate-friendly one, you will still be able to go into your Google maps setting and change the default to fastest if you prefer.
When displaying the climate-friendly route, Google plans to use a green leaf icon to identify the route.
If you have an electric vehicle, you may still want to use the greenest route if the electrical energy you use to charge your car comes from a fossil fuel or nuclear power plant. But if your home has solar panels, it is a net-zero energy home or a positive energy home, you generate enough net energy to also charge your electric vehicle, and you always charge your electric vehicle at home, then you can possibly opt for the fastest route without feeling guilty.