Boost Your Vehicles Efficiency for Free with Garmin ecoRoute: Coming this February!

Green GPS Hula Girl Photo

Photo credit: Jimmy Joe

GPS units offer improved efficiency with your vehicle by offering you a one shot route to your destination. In other words, there is no more of the "hunt and peck" method of finding the nearest gas station, or the "drive-by and sigh" method of finding a friend's new house after moving.

As efficient as these units are by themselves, Garmin has announced that it will be supplying a new update for two of their models called ecoRoute. The new software update is set to come out this February, 2009, and will allow drivers to choose the most fuel-efficient routes to take, rather than just the fastest and the shortest...How Can ecoRoute Help?
I am sure that you smart Treehuggers are probably be asking yourselves, what exactly is the difference between the "less fuel" option, as opposed to the "shortest" route? Well, my gut instinct tells me that it is not that much except for a nifty mileage/efficiency calculator addition to the Garmin that will allow you to actually see the amount of gas you will be saving by taking the shorter distance as opposed to the faster.

That is unless Garmin has considered that when it comes to saving fuel and attaining the best possible MPG, it depends a lot on what type of car you drive. If you drive a normally gas aspirated car, the less fuel route should have the least amount of city driving and the most highway. For most hybrid's, city driving with stop and go traffic will aid in the charging of the battery due to regenerative braking, so the greatest fuel efficiency would be achieved by taking the shortest route with the least amount of hills and high speed highways.

Calculating Your Best Efficiency Could be Beyond the Garmin's Capability... for Now
Is the new software complex enough to take all that into consideration? Well, probably not, but it does take into account the vehicle you drive and its average fuel economy. The real incentive with this update will most likely be the realization factor of how much a vehicles ultimate efficiency is effected by your driving choices.

Many GPS units default setting is the fastest method of travel. Many drivers care more about getting somewhere fast, than they do about traveling the least amount of distance. So, perhaps this update will help to wake up a few of the tree-patters out there into realizing that 5 minutes of time saved is not always worth the expended gas and exhaust. Especially when they see the numbers right in front of their face.

What Models Will Accept the Upgrade?
As of now the two models that will benefit from the update will be the nüvi® 205-series and the nüvi® 705-series.

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