LA Auto Show Green Car Finalists Announced

The field of five features hybrid and conventional powertrains from Dodge, Ford, Toyota and Mazda

Nearly every automaker at this year's LA Auto Show can claim to have at least one vehicle in its lineup built with fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions in mind.

So, selecting five finalists for the show's annual Green Car of the Year award has become more of a challenge since it was first presented eight years ago.

"What's tougher these days is narrowing down the universe of great candidates to a field of five nominees, as we have today," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and president of the Green Car Institute.

Past finalists have included hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, clean diesel, petrol-powered cars and last year's winner -- a Honda Civic than runs on compressed natural gas. This year's field of five nominees was announced Thursday.

2013 Green Car of the Year Award Finalists:

Dodge Dart Aero
: Conventional power, but high mpg. The Aero is a special trim level with aerodynamic features. With its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Dart Aero is expected to achieve in the neighborhood of 41 mpg.

Ford C-MAX: Ford will offer the C-MAX in hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid models. The Energi will be Ford's first production plug-in hybrid, adding to the list of Toyota Prius plug-in competitors.

Ford Fusion: The Fusion stands out in the competitive mid-size market. It also will be offered in conventional, hybrid and plug-in models for 2013.

Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV: Another conventionally powered vehicle that provides high mpg. The compact crossover is expected to achieve about 33 mpg (highway) with its fuel efficient 4-cylinder.

Toyota Prius c
: The smaller, more urban-friendly, less expensive Prius. It features a smaller, less powerful variant of the standard Prius' hybrid powertrain.

The vehicles will be on display at the 2013 LA Auto Show, Nov. 30 through Dec. 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The winner, selected by a panel that includes Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Global Green USA president Matt Petersen, will be announced Nov. 29. Local automotive enthusiast and "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno also is on the Green Car panel.

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