Almost one in four Americans are very concerned about vehicle tailpipe emissions, according to a survey conducted in January by the publication Consumer Reports. Nearly half of survey respondents also said that fuel economy is very important when considering a vehicle to buy or lease, and 27 percent were very worried about car exhaust contributing to climate change.
Consequently, Consumer Reports will now grade cars according to their environmental impact. It has launched a new “green choice” rating, identified by a green leaf icon, to help people quickly identify vehicles with the best fuel efficiency and lowest contributions to atmospheric CO2 levels and smog formation.
Interestingly, the survey also shows that nearly half of car buyers will use information about a vehicle’s emissions to inform their buying—but only if they know where to look. Unfortunately, more than 50 percent are unaware that this information is displayed prominently on the Monroney sticker.
Consumer Reports says that 20 percent of the cars it rates qualify as green choices, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency. And four of the top 10 vehicles it recommends—known as Top Picks—are green choices: Toyota’s Prius, Corolla, and Camry, as well as the 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. Green Choice will make the vehicles with the lowest greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions readily apparent to consumers,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing and consumer reports.