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Google Maps quietly made a major change for millions of users — and drivers are torn

This new feature could help promote electrification between drivers and gas stations nationwide.

This new feature could help promote electrification between drivers and gas stations nationwide.

Photo Credit: iStock

Electric vehicle owners who use Google Maps for navigation will be thrilled about a new feature that makes journeys easier.

In August 2023, Google demoted gas stations on its points-of-interest category for electric vehicle drivers, so anyone looking for an electric refueling station will find it much easier to filter through the options and find the location that suits their needs.

According to The Verge, EV drivers can also tap into Google Maps information that provides real-time charging point availability, charging speed filters, plug type filters, and details about supermarkets or shopping centers that have charging facilities on-site.

Range anxiety is common among EV owners, who worry about whether they can make a long trip with easy access to charging points. It's a concern among prospective customers, too, with one study published on ScienceDirect showing that the perceived lack of available chargers was the second biggest barrier to an EV purchase.

But the Google Maps feature, which has been available to some drivers since 2020, should help alleviate those worries and perhaps encourage more people to switch from a dirty-fuel-powered car to a clean, electric one.

Even though some electricity is still created by coal-fired power stations, EVs still release significantly less planet-warming pollution than typical gas-guzzling cars — and that will further improve as more renewable power is added to the grid.

EVs also release no particle pollution or harmful toxins on the road, allowing for better air quality and reducing the risk of heart and lung diseases. 

Some commenters on The Verge weren't so convinced by Google's changes, though, with a couple noting that knowing where gas stations are is helpful for other reasons, such as finding available restrooms.

One user noted this could have a positive impact on existing gas stations, which might be more inclined to add electric charging to be more visible on the app. 

"Low-key hope this makes gas stations start having charging stations in order to improve their Google Maps rankings," they said.

In California, many cities have banned the construction of new gas stations and are encouraging existing sites to add more charging capabilities. 

What's more, EV charging infrastructure is improving throughout the United States. That's partly thanks to measures set out by the Biden administration, which aims to provide 500,000 electric chargers by 2026.

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