May 4, 2009

Study: GPS Saves Miles and Gas

If you have been waiting to get a GPS, wait no longer, because NAVTEQ recently released results from a study it commissioned to understand the effects of using GPS navigation on miles driven and the overall effect on fuel efficiency. The study was conducted in Germany, among people who had not previously owned a GPS, and attached a data logger to their cars to capture trip distances, times, speed, etc. The study had three groups of users, 1) Drivers without a GPS navigation system (the control group), 2) Drivers with a GPS, and 3) Drivers with a GPS that is traffic enabled. The findings are pretty cool:

  1. Drivers with a GPS drove about 1,500 miles less per year that drivers without a GPS when you annualize the data.
  2. Drivers with a GPS get better fuel efficiency; about 12% better.
  3. Drivers reduced their trip times increased over time as drivers learned how to better use the GPS. The trip distance savings increased for non-standard trips, which I would imagine are those trips where you are not as sure of the route.
  4. Drivers who had the traffic feature had shorter trips during what would be considered Rush hours.

So, while the savings figures below are for a Euro driver where gas is higher per gallon than the US, I calculated a few figures for the US that might illustrate what a US driver might experience if the 12% increase in fuel efficiency held true as well as the 1,500 mile reduction in annual miles driven.

Savings for a Typical US Driver
Assuming a 22 MPG average in the US for the passenger car fleet, a 12% increase would represent 24.6 MPG. If you drove 15,000 miles originally, it would take 681 gallons of gas, or about $1,396 at the US average price of $2.05/gallon. With the GPS, you would drive 12,500 miles at 24.6 MPG, and you would use 508 gallons of gas totaling $1,041 per year at $2.05/gallon. A savings of $354.

If you up the quality of the systems used, I would imagine you would get better results. If you want to get better at driving more economically, try out the ecoRoute capabilities on your Garmin GPS. It's free with all new Nuvi's and is a free download for all Nuvi 205 and 705 series units.

NAVTEQ, the leading global provider of digital map, traffic and location data for in-vehicle, portable, wireless and enterprise solutions, has revealed the results of a proprietary research study designed to assess the consumer impact of everyday use of navigation devices. Previous studies in this field focused more on "getting lost" scenarios versus the benefits to drivers of navigation system use during the course of their normal driving habits.

In a three pronged study which evaluated drivers without a navigation system, drivers with a navigation system, and drivers with a navigation system that included traffic, the results revealed that the drivers using navigation devices 1) drove shorter distances and 2) spent less time driving. Conducted in two metropolitan areas of Germany - Dusseldorf and Munich - the study also showed that drivers with navigation devices had a 12% increase in fuel efficiency, as measured by liters of fuel consumed per 100 kms. Fuel consumption among those drivers using navigation fell from 8.3 to 7.3 l/100kms (28.3 MPG to 32.2 MPG). When the study results are annualized, they equate to a nearly 2500 kilometer (About 1500 miles) drop in distance driven per year per driver, and an average of €416 (~ $550) in savings on fuel annually per driver.

The participants, who had not previously owned a navigation device, had their vehicles outfitted with a logging device which was used to track the route they drove and their driving speed. The study results reflect more than 2,100 individual trips, more than 20,000 kilometers and almost 500 hours on the road.

The study was conducted by NuStats, a social science research firm that over the past 25 years has established itself as a leader in population surveys and qualitative research pertaining to transportation in general, and personal mobility and transit use in particular.

The findings also revealed additional areas of learning:

  • Reductions in trip times and distance driven increased over time: There was a marked "learning curve" with the use of navigation devices; greater decreases in trip times and distance driven were seen in the latter half of the study.
  • The addition of traffic information further reduced trip times and distance driven: The largest reductions were seen with participants using a navigation device with traffic during peak travel times (7:00 - 8:59 AM; 4:00 - 6:59 PM).
  • Greater reductions were seen during non-routine trips: When traveling a route other than what was customarily traveled, the reductions in trip times and lengths were also higher.

    "With the robust methodology behind this study, we have confidence that these results are representative of a trend that globally has often been implied, but not previously proven in the realm of everyday use. Consumers can enjoy the advantages of navigation not only in relation to a more positive driving experience, but also in terms of the positive impact it can have on their wallets," says Judson Green, president and chief executive officer, NAVTEQ.

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    Posted by Scott Martin at May 4, 2009 6:14 AM
  • Recent Comments

    NAVTEQ commissions a study and the findings are that GPS saves money? Who knew? LOL.

    They obviously haven't tried a Nuvi in the states using EcoRoute.

    Posted by: ty webb at May 11, 2009 7:35 AM
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