October 30, 2007

Five finalists compete for 2008 Green Car of the Year award

Saturn Aura Green Line
Saturn Aura Green Line. Click image to enlarge

Los Angeles, California – The winner of the 2008 Green Car of the Year award has been narrowed to five nominees, according to an announcement by Green Car Journal, the leading automotive environmental magazine. The winner will be announced on November 15th during Press Days at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“There has been significant movement in the auto industry toward making mainstream models ‘greener’ in recent years, with notable milestones in fuel efficiency and low emissions,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal. “This is especially evident with hybrids, where gasoline-electric hybrid technology is being applied to popular models in the most important vehicle classes where consumers are shopping.”

This mainstreaming of hybrid technology is reflected in the five nominees for the 2008 Green Car of the Year award: The 2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid, Mazda Tribute Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, and Saturn Aura Hybrid.

“The fact that all five Green Car of the Year nominees are hybrids this year is a clear indication that the auto industry’s significant investment of time and resources into gasoline-electric hybrid technology is paying off,” explains Cogan. “Hybrids were not a specific focus during our nomination process. There are many pathways to achieving efficiency and emissions goals, and hybrids, while popular, represent just one of these.”

Each of the nominees achieves “firsts” in specific ways. All, of course, feature fuel efficiency gains and offer extremely low emissions with advanced technologies used to further increase their environmental performance. The Chevrolet Tahoe, a popular larger SUV, is now much more fuel efficient through the use of an all-new two-mode hybrid technology. Mazda’s Tribute Hybrid is this auto maker’s first-ever gasoline-electric hybrid model and exemplifies the continuing evolution of fuel efficient hybrid technology shared with related brands. The Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura hybrids showcase affordable hybrid technology available in mass-market sedans. Nissan’s Altima Hybrid represents this brand’s first-ever use of hybrid technology to blend higher efficiencies and performance in its popular sport sedan.

Dozens of potential nominees weighed in during the selection process. Green Car Journal editors considered vehicles employing all fuels and technologies in the effort to raise the bar in environmental performance, including high efficiency gasoline internal combustion, advanced diesel, hybrids, and vehicles capable of running on alternative fuels. In the Green Car of the Year program, nominees must stand out as exemplary models that forward environmental performance in meaningful and quantifiable ways. Market significance and “newness” are factors. All nominees must be on sale by January 1st of the award year.

Jurors include leaders of the nation’s top environmental organizations, including Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Christopher Flavin, president of Worldwatch Institute; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; and Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute. Also, Jay Leno noted auto enthusiast and host of the “Tonight Show” as well as automotive icon Carroll Shelby, join four Green Car Journal editors to round out the 2008 jury.

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