Green Car Journal names top five eco-friendly models

October 17, 2013 12:00 AM

Environmentally conscious drivers will be delighted to know that Green Car Journal has been evaluating a variety of vehicle models and has finally chosen its five finalists for the 2014 Green Car of the Year Program. These cars have also been honored with the journal's Green Car Product of Excellence seal. The models chosen by the magazine include the Audi A6 TDI, Honda Accord, Mazda3, BMW328d and Toyota Corolla. While previously there were limited cars to choose from for this program, more and more automakers are launching vehicles that are eligible, demonstrating the industry's dedication to reducing negative environmental impact. These models may call for specialized vehicle maintenance, but most promise enhanced efficiency.

Wider diversity
USA Today noted that previously, electric cars and hybrids seemed to have an advantage in this competition. However, the nominees have come to include a larger range of vehicles due to engine improvements.

"The diversity of this field of finalists illustrates not only that 'green' has gone mainstream, but also that there is no single approach to achieving ever higher levels of fuel efficiency and environmental performance," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "There's something for everyone in this year's field of finalists, including clean diesel, high efficiency gasoline, and hybrid/plug-in hybrid power featured in mainstream, sporty and executive models."

For example, the Chicago Tribune reported that the 2014 Mazda3 was chosen because with a four-cylinder, 2-liter engine, it achieves 41 mpg highway fuel economy. Meanwhile, next year's Toyota Corolla gets 42 highway mpg.

Strict requirements
To be considered for this honor, cars must be on the market by Jan. 1, 2014. This factor is meant to encourage companies to reduce their environmental footprint sooner rather than later. 

So who will be deciding the winner? The panel of jurors includes famed auto enthusiast and talk show host Jay Leno, Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, and Matt Petersen, board member of Global Green USA, as well as other environmental leaders and editors from the Green Car Journal.

"Discussion of advanced vehicles is often polarized, filled with vocal champions for various technologies and fuels who would have us believe theirs is the only answer," Cogan stated, as quoted by USA Today. "The five finalists for 2014 Green Car of the Year - high efficiency gasoline, clean diesel, hybrid, and plug-in - say otherwise."

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