Green Driving will help you select the vehicle that is most friendly to the planet while meeting your transportation needs. Based on official emissions and fuel-economy tests, and other specifications reported by auto manufacturers, we calculate a green score for each car, minivan, pickup, and SUV on the market. The green score falls on a scale of zero to 100. A higher score implies a greener car, meaning a vehicle having a lower environmental impact.

Green Scores and class rankings

In our tables, vehicles are grouped together by class (that is, the type or body style, such as midsize car, minivan, standard pickup, and so on). To summarize our ratings and make it easy to find the top-rated vehicles in each class, we use a five-tier class ranking—superior, above average, average, below average, and inferior—depending on where a model falls within its class. No vehicle gets a superior rating if its green score is worse than the overall average of all vehicles offered this model year, even if it ranks among the best in its class. Look for models that are ranked superior or above average to easily find those that have the greenest scores.

To make it easy to find the most planet-friendly new cars and trucks available this year, our highlights of the model year page identifies not only the overall greenest vehicles, but also the models with the highest green scores in each class. The easiest way to buy green is to select a vehicle from this "best by class" list.

Our online database lists each vehicle's emission standard, fuel economy, fuel costs, health effects, CO2 emissions, and overall environmental impact, along with its green score and class ranking. If you have identified a set of models to consider, build a comparison list to shop with the environment in mind.

For most consumers, the Green Score and class ranking provide a good indication of a vehicle's environmental performance. In general, a vehicle is greener if it is cleaner (having lower pollution) or more fuel-efficient (resulting in lower energy consumption and CO2 emissions).

Different versions of a model have different green scores

Nearly all models come in different configurations, meaning different choices of engine, transmission, and other major options. A model may also be available in versions that meet different emissions standards or run on alternative fuels.

To match a model in the showroom with a listing on, first match its engine size and transmission type (automatic, manual, 4wd, etc.), followed by the city and highway fuel economy ratings found on the vehicle window label. Lastly, examine the window sticker or under-hood id to match the vehicle's emission standard.