Almost one in four Americans is very concerned about vehicle exhaust emissions, according to a survey conducted in January by Consumer Reports. Almost half of the respondents said that fuel economy is very important when buying or leasing a vehicle, and 27 percent were very concerned that car exhaust fumes contribute to climate change.
As a result, consumer reports are now rating cars based on their environmental impact. A new "Green Choice" rating has been introduced, denoted by a green leaf icon, so people can quickly identify vehicles with the best fuel efficiency and the lowest contributions to atmospheric CO2 and smog.
Interestingly, the survey also shows that almost half of car buyers will use information about a vehicle's emissions to inform their purchase – but only if they know where to look. Unfortunately, more than 50 percent do not know that this information is clearly visible on the Monroney sticker.
Enlarge /. This is what a Monroney window sticker looks like. The EPA information is clearly displayed in a large box on the right.
According to consumer reports, 20 percent of the cars he rated are considered green choices, based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency. And four of the ten recommended top vehicles – known as top picks – are environmentally friendly: Toyota's Prius, Corolla and Camry as well as the Tesla Model 3.
“We have long included fuel efficiency in our vehicle reviews, but until now we haven't looked at what's coming out of the exhaust. Green Choice will make the vehicles with the lowest greenhouse gas and smog emissions – emissions that consumers can easily see said Jake Fisher, senior director, auto testing and consumer reports.