Consumer Reports Launches ‘Green Choice’ To Steer Consumers, Automakers Toward Cleaner Cars New designation comes as two-thirds of Americans are concerned about health impacts of emissions
COLCHESTER, CT february 18, 2021; Consumer Reports (CR), the nonprofit consumer research, testing, and advocacy organization, today announced the launch of Green Choice, a new initiative to make information about auto emissions more accessible to consumers. As part of Green Choice, CR will use a new green leaf icon to designate cars and trucks in its ratings that produce among the lowest amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) and smog-forming emissions, based on EPA data.
“To most of us on the road, green means go, but increasingly it also signals making a choice in the marketplace that is healthier for communities, better for our environmental footprint, and easier on everyday finances. We look forward to bringing our independent rigorous testing and analysis to more products as part of CR’s Green Choice to better inform consumers and further incentivize manufacturers to meet these important consumer demands,” said Marta L. Tellado, President and CEO of Consumer Reports.
Greenhouse gases are emitted from the tailpipes of cars and trucks that combust fuel. The gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. Typically there is a balance, but excess emissions activities like driving are changing the planet’s climate, raising sea levels, harming ecosystems, and causing dangerous effects to human health and welfare, according to the EPA.
To most of us on the road, green means go, but increasingly it also signals making a choice in the marketplace that is healthier for communities, better for our environmental footprint, and easier on everyday finances.
Two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans are “very or somewhat” worried about tailpipe emissions contributing to health conditions related to air quality, according to a January 2021 nationally representative CR survey of 2,223 adults. Sixty-one percent said that those emissions are a “very or somewhat” important factor when considering which vehicle to purchase or lease.
For a long time we’ve included fuel efficiency in our road-test score for vehicles, but until now we haven’t looked at what’s coming out of the tailpipe. Green Choice will make the vehicles with the lowest greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions readily apparent to consumers
Among CR’s 10 Top Picks in cars and trucks for 2021, four are Green Choices. This shows that it is possible for automakers to create vehicles that are safe and sustainable, and also are reliable, perform well, and make owners happy. These vehicles include the Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, and Tesla Model 3.
“For a long time we’ve included fuel efficiency in our road-test score for vehicles, but until now we haven’t looked at what’s coming out of the tailpipe,” said Jake Fisher, Senior Director of Automotive Testing and Consumer Reports. “Green Choice will make the vehicles with the lowest greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions readily apparent to consumers.”
Consumer Reports conducts a battery of tests on every vehicle it evaluates, including braking, handling, comfort, convenience, safety, and fuel economy. CR testers drive 500,000 miles per year during the testing process. CR buys all its test cars anoymously from the same dealers as car buyers and does not accept free samples from automakers for any of its ratings or evaluations.
By Marta L. Tellado, PhD, President CR
February 18, 2021
Deciding on the right car for you can prove to be a difficult decision with a seemingly never-ending expanse of options. Our goal is to do much of the heavy lifting for you to make that decision more manageable. Our team at the Auto Test Center drives over 500,000 miles a year, putting vehicles through rigorous testing to give you unbiased insights into the safety, efficiency, and performance of cars on the market today.
With this year’s annual Autos Spotlight, we are introducing an additional way to assist consumers in choosing the best possible vehicle: our Green Choice designation, which you’ll see denoted by a green leaf in our ratings. In collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, we will now incorporate data to identify how vehicles stack up when it comes to the amount of greenhouse gas and other pollutants they emit.
We’ve taken this step, in part, because of what we’ve heard from you. In a January 2021 nationally representative CR survey of 2,223 U.S. adults, 61 percent said that tailpipe emissions are a “very or somewhat” important factor when they’re choosing a car to purchase or lease. And according to CR’s analysis, vehicles with fewer greenhouse gas emissions also tend to help consumers save money on fuel. In fact, owners of electric vehicles are spending 60 percent less to power their vehicles than owners of conventional gas-powered models.
What’s exciting is that four of CR’s 10 Top Picks for 2021 also meet our criteria for the new Green Choice designation. This shows that it is possible to create vehicles that are safe, reliable, and sustainable. We recognize the enormous trust you put in us to help you make this major decision, and we take that responsibility very seriously. With this additional focus on sustainability, we believe we are ensuring that your choice of a car is the right one for you and for planet Earth.
Our new Green Choice designation highlights the top 20 percent of vehicles on the market with the cleanest emissions. Green Choice cars, SUVs, and minivans are indicated in our ratings by a green leaf icon and are gas-powered, hybrid, and electric. The new rating was developed in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, which rates vehicles for levels of greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions. Green Choice allows consumers to make a more informed decision when shopping for a new vehicle. We also indicate which cars meet the Green Choice standard in our online ratings and model pages.
For more information, visit CR.org/spotlight.