What Does Toyota’s ECO Light Mean?

If you’ve driven your new Toyota Highlander for any length of time, you’ve likely noticed a little “ECO” light on the front instrument panel. Have you ever wondered what (exactly) this means? Me too. Here’s the scoop…

In short, the ECO light indicates that you’re driving in an economic (or eco-friendly) manner. According to an older press release, the system considers factors such as accelerator use, engine & transmission efficiency, speed, and rate of acceleration when making this determination.

Keeping the ECO light on

So if you accelerate gradually and don’t stomp on the gas pedal, the light will (mostly) stay on. Press the gas harder and the light turns off. The goal here is behavioral modification, and Toyota claims the ECO light can help to improve your mileage by as much as 4% due to increased awareness.

If you have an XLE or Limited and you want to fine-tune your driving habits, you can view the “Zone of Eco” from your multi-information display (MID), which is located between the tachometer and the speedometer. Sorry, but I’m not sure if this is possible with the LE or LE Plus.

To do this, use the d-pad (arrow keys) on the steering wheel to select the “i” (info) tab. Then scroll down to the Eco Indicator. This shows an eco-friendly range along with your current eco-ratio. Keep your ratio within the range and the ECO light stays on. Get outside the range and it goes off.

Switching the light off

Note that you can turn off the ECO light if you really want to. To access this setting, touch either the “CAR” or “APPS” button (depends on trim level) on your audio system, then press “SETUP,” and finally press “VEHICLE.”

As for me, I’m leaving the ECO light enabled. It can’t hurt, and it does help me to drive a bit more efficiently. The same goes for the real-time mpg indicator, which brings out the competitive side in me as I try to keep the real-time reading above my longer-term average.

No, I’m still not getting the EPA-rated mileage, but I’m doing pretty well. This is especially true when it comes to highway mileage.

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13 comments… add one
  • Milos Jul 9, 2014

    I always thought the eco light “on” meant that the fuel injection was capped to some extent and actually affected your ability to accelerate in order to save marginally on fuel. I’ve been in many vehicles where this is the case.

    • Michael Jul 9, 2014

      As far as I know, the ECO light on the Highlander is only an indicator of efficient driving practices.

      In the case of Honda vehicles with variable cylinder management (VCM) like our Odyssey, the eco light can indicate that the engine is running in a more efficient mode (with some cylinders shut down), though it can come on at other times, too.

      In our Honda CR-V, there is a green eco button that, when engaged, does affect performance. I believe it does something along the lines of tweaking the shift points to achieve better mileage at the expense of acceleration.

      • Milos Jul 9, 2014

        Ok, thanks again Michael. I’m going to turn it back on now that I understand this. Very helpful.

  • Felix mambala Aug 14, 2015

    Can engine check on toyota noah make engine cylinder 1 and 4 to misfire ?

  • levy Oct 11, 2015

    I always wonders why the eco light is and off

  • emmanule Jul 19, 2016

    i have a Toyota voxy the Eco sign keep ape ring on the dashboard why

  • Austino Aug 3, 2016

    My Toyota Noah sometimes flashing Eco green light…is anything wrong with that?

  • Steven matabula Oct 1, 2016

    Noted with thanks but how do I switch it off

    • tiffany Oct 13, 2016

      if you hold the display button down theres an option for ECO and you can turn the lamp light off, if that doesnt work check the manual, I have a 2016 4runner so it may be different

  • tiffany Oct 13, 2016

    if you hold the display button down theres an option for ECO and you can turn the lamp light off, if that doesnt work check the manual, I have a 2016 4runner so it may be different

  • nsamba fredrick Jan 13, 2017

    thanks but can i remove it via coding with a jumper wire?

  • molikeng Sep 26, 2017

    I thought the sign “eco on” means simething is wrong and might damage the engine

  • molikeng Sep 26, 2017

    If i want to do minor service of toyota noah 2004, which parts u may advice me to service ?

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