Tips, Tricks & Trends

Consumer Reports Debuted a Handy New Tool For Eco-Conscious Car Shoppers

All cars will be green in the foreseeable future – and we’re not talking about paint color. However, until all models are eco-friendly, Consumer Reports created a helpful label that helps shoppers identify low-emission vehicles.

Here’s how you can use this trusted publication to make a smarter – and more environmentally friendly – car purchase.

Look for Consumer Reports’ little green symbol

Drivers are doing more research than ever before deciding on their next car. Many people put a lot of weight into Consumer Reports’ analysis because it obtains its data.

Consumer Reports sends yearly surveys to its subscribers to gather information on a wide range of vehicles. Owners report any issues and feedback about their particular model. Then, the publication reevaluates these cars while using this data to predict how well new cars will fare.

Subscribers have heavily leaned on the publication’s ‘Recommended’ tag for years. Now, they’ll have another designation to help aid them during the car-buying process.

Consumer Reports recently debuted its new ‘Green Choice’ label. And this new distinction will carry significant weight for eco-conscious drivers.

It’s easy to discern which models earned the ‘Green Choice’ badge. Simply look for a small green leaf icon next to the vehicle’s name on Consumer Reports. 

Notably, you don’t have to subscribe to the publication to see which cars earned this tag. However, non-members will not be able to see other information, including vehicle ratings.

How does a car become one of Consumer Reports’ ‘Green Choice’ models?

A blue Toyota Prius Prime and another red Toyota on display in a showroom
Two Toyotas, including a Prius Prime, on display in a showroom | Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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The publication added two new categories to its vehicle rating system – greenhouse gas and smog.

Consumer Reports scores these specifications with a 1-10 grading scale. For example, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has a 6/10 rating in both areas, and it did not earn the ‘Green Choice’ label.

It’s easy to find this information, but you’ll have to subscribe to Consumer Reports to view the detailed information.

You’ll see a headline that reads ‘Road Test Results’ when you navigate to the overview page of a specific model on Consumer Reports. Scroll down to find the newly added ‘Emissions’ section to view these new ratings.

How many models are ‘Green Choice’ cars?

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According to Consumer Reports, nearly 25% of its ‘Recommended’ cars are also ‘Green Choice’ models. 

As you’d expect, hybrids and electric vehicles make up the majority of the list. The publication awarded the ‘Green Choice’ label to every 2021 model it tested in this segment.

Typically, the larger a vehicle is, the less likely it would be considered a ‘Green Choice.’ At the time of this writing, Consumer Reports hasn’t awarded the label to any non-hybrid/EV SUV. 

However, the publication named a handful of compact and subcompact cars – such as the Hyundai Elantra and Nissan Versa – ‘Green Choice’ models.

Consumer Reports is paving the way for a greener future

RELATED: These 3 Compact SUVs Flunked Consumer Reports’ Road Test

Some drivers and dealerships haven’t fully embraced electric vehicles. Regardless, significant changes in the automotive industry are on the horizon.

In the meantime, you can still drive an eco-friendly vehicle without ditching gas-powered engines.

“EVs are best for the environment, but you can still meaningfully reduce your impact by choosing the right gas-powered car or truck,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, via the company’s website.

The publication’s ‘Green Choice’ label isn’t just about helping shoppers. It’s also about making a difference for the environment.