GPS in Cars Can Save Time and Money

Map maker quantifies savings at about $200 a year, or the cost of a mid-range model

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Anyone who's used a GPS in their car can vouch that it saves them time, aggravation and probably some money. Map-making firm Navteq put a dollar figure to it, saying GPS saved German drivers an average of about 1,500 miles of driving in a recent study.

That might mean about $200 a year for a typical U.S. car. In other words, a year's use could pay for a mid-range GPS receiver.

The biggest savings came to drivers who drove during rush hours in the study, which focused on two German cities. Drivers also benefited if their device included traffic reports, which typically come with a monthly subscription charge.

Navteq said its study differed from earlier trials because it looked at everyday usage. Earlier studies had focused on "getting lost" scenarios.

It's hard to know if the numbers are solid. But even if a GPS receiver only saves half the fuel that Navteq claims, the company didn't put a dollar figure to time saved -- not to mention aggravation.