Green Car of the Year Finalists Announced for 2012


Ed Begley Jr. chatting up green vehicles at Forward with Ford conference.

The LA Auto Show is rolling around and so is the 7th annual Green Car of the Year, selected by Green Car Journal and a panel of jurors. Dozens of vehicles that will hit the road on January 1, 2012 were considered for the prize this year which is a positive development and they represent a variety of ways to green a car, from hybrids to electric. Which of the following five nominees would you select?
Volkswagen Passat TDI
This VW sedan built in the U.S. with clean diesel fuel, lower emissions and a 43 mpg rating on average. One trip from Seattle to San Francisco got 55 mpg on one tank. Powered by sales in China, VW has had huge sales gains, rising 20% in 2011, per an NPR report.


Honda's Civic Natural Gas
The Honda Natural Gas is a good choice for fleets with access to alternative fueling stations. I just discovered a compressed natural gas pump a few miles from me. There are 32 public CNG stations within 25 miles, 50 more within 50 miles and 312 different public alternative fuel stations.


Toyota Prius v
This new hybrid is roomier for more cargo and the crossover-like hatchback is an improved look though less aerodynamic. The Prius v for versatile begins the expansion of the brand to include forthcoming plug-in and compact models.


Mitsubishi i
The iMIEV is the company's first zero-emission all-electric vehicle and available in Japan since 2009. It's cheaper than a Nissan Leaf. The EPA estimates that drivers will spend just $495 dollars to drive the i 15,000 miles according to Popular Mechanics and the range is 62 miles.


Ford's Focus Electric
In addition to the lithium ion battery, the Focus Electric's charging unit is made with 60 percent post-consumer recycled materials and will be available through Best Buy. Other more sustainable materials include soy foam and wood fibers in an effort to decrease petroleum-based plastics, plus the Michigan plant boasts using solar power.

"This year's Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com in a press statement about new solutions that address increasing fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions and petroleum use for "a more environmentally-compatible motoring future."

Jurors include Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society, television host Jay Leno, Mustang designer Carroll Shelby, and Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA.

The GCOY award winner will be announced the day before the Los Angeles Auto Show takes off, November 18-27.

More on green cars:
Impressions From the 2011 Geneva Auto Show
Revenge of the Electric Car Review
Chevy Volt Earns "Recommended" from Consumer Reports

Tags: Diesel | Electric Vehicles | Fuel Efficiency | Hybrid Cars | Prius

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