What the Consumer Reports Green Choice Title Means for New Cars

When looking for a new car, many people go to Consumer Reports for information. As fuel pipe emissions become a bigger problem and the world heads to electric vehicles, what does the Consumer Reports green choice mean? Check out what this designation means for buyers and for cars.

What is Consumer Reports green choice?

What does the Consumer Reports Green Choice label mean?
The exhaust pipe on a truck | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At first glance, the little green leaf doesn’t look like much. For automakers, getting the “green choice” recommendation is a big deal. The Consumer Reports green choice designation means the vehicle is among those that produce the fewest greenhouse gases.

Back in 2021, Consumer Reports decided to add the designation to help find the right car for buyers. In collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, the green choice title helps identify vehicles that have fewer greenhouse gases.

In a part of the Annual Auto Survey in January 2021, 61% of U.S. adults that took part in the survey said that emissions were a “very or somewhat” important element in choosing a new car.

Many of the Consumer Reports green choice cars are also top picks

While tailpipe emissions are a problem for some people, CR suggests a “green choice” car will help you save money, too.

“In fact, owners of electric vehicles are spending 60 percent less to power their vehicles than owners of conventional gas-powered models.”

Consumer Reports

Many cars that regularly make the CR “top picks” list also have the green choice leaf. Vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry, and the Tesla Model 3 all qualified. To get the coveted Consumer Reports green choice leaf on a vehicle, it has to be within the top 20% of low tailpipe emissions. More specifically, “The EPA has certified this vehicle as among the 20 percent lowest-emitting passenger vehicles for its model year, based on government greenhouse gas and smog ratings.”

Some older cars have also received the title from CR. That means buyers can check on an older vehicle to see if it still qualifies. The experts at CR went back and applied the recommendation to cars as far back as 2016.

Look for the leaf next to the “reccomended” marker


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Readers can find the green leaf on the Consumer Reports ratings and models pages. If the car, truck, or SUV is within those guidelines, the “GREEN CHOICE” leaf will be at the top of the page next to the year, make, and model. Right next to the “RECOMMENDED” designation, which is also a pretty big deal.

Each year, there are more options on the market as the world shifts to electric vehicles. This year, more electric SUVs and electric trucks are hitting the market than ever. Many of these will get the Consumer Reports Green Choice designation, and the market is likely to continue to expand as fewer gasoliene-powered cars are produced.

For now, keep an eye out for the little leaf if you are concerned about tailpipe emissions and fuel economy.