Consumer Reports Announces New Feature to Help You Find ‘Green’ Cars

You have myriad things to consider when choosing a new vehicle. That’s especially true if you’re searching for a dependable car with lower greenhouse gas emissions. So, to better serve car shoppers, Consumer Reports recently announced it gives certain cars a “Green Choice” designation with a leaf symbol in their reviews.

Here’s everything we know about Consumer Reports’ helpful new feature.

What is Consumer Reports?

Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports is an organization that helps consumers determine the authenticity and quality of various services and goods, including vehicles. In its Green Choice announcement, Consumer Reports says its reviewers drive upward of 500,000 miles a year.

In addition to reviewing each vehicle’s quality and performance, expert reviewers also examine efficiency and safety. Offering detailed rankings based on factors like predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and value, CR assists shoppers with making large purchases. According to CR, it aims to “do much of the heavy lifting for you to make that decision more manageable.”

Consumer Reports’ new Green Choice designation

RELATED: What Makes a Vehicle ‘Green’ According to the U.S. EPA

The new Green Choice designation is partially a response to demand. In Consumer Reports’ national survey in January, 61 percent of respondents said tailpipe emissions are a “very or somewhat” important factor when car shopping.

To determine whether a car receives the Green Choice designation, Consumer Reports considers two main factors: greenhouse gas emissions and smog-forming emissions. Vehicles with low or no emissions get a leaf symbol in their review indicating they’re a CR-approved Green Choice. Reviewers also indicate Green Choice vehicles in online ratings and model pages.

Consumer Reports will use this designation to identify the top 20 percent of low-emission vehicles on the market. These automobiles don’t have to be electric — reviewers also consider gas-powered and hybrid versions.

In addition to being better for the environment, vehicles with lower greenhouse gas emissions are typically better for your wallet. Consumer Reports says drivers of low-emission vehicles often save significantly in fuel costs. EV drivers spend up to 60 percent less on fuel than drivers of conventional models.

But CR doesn’t recommend every Green Choice

Though the Green Choice designation can help you find lower-emission vehicles, a car designated a Green Choice isn’t necessarily a good option. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, this designation “doesn’t mean that you have to be recommended to be a Green Choice, and it doesn’t mean that a Green Choice vehicle is necessarily recommended.” The designation indicates only the vehicle’s emission levels. It doesn’t consider other important factors, such as safety, price, and reliability.

Even so, several vehicles on Consumer Reports’ “10 Top Picks for 2021” are also Green Choices. That’s an excellent sign for environmentally conscious shoppers looking for a dependable car. The four top vehicles receiving this designation are the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, and Tesla Model 3. 

Shopping for a new vehicle can be stressful, but this new designation can help immensely. Though it doesn’t mean these vehicles are the best, the Green Choice leaf can help narrow your options. Then you can find something that’s both high-quality and low-emission.