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Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Green Car of the Year

8:45 am - So, the choices for the 2009 Green Car of the Year are:


The ceremony should start in a few minutes. Then we'll know who wins this thing.

8:48 am - Ron Cogan, editor of Green Car Journal - the people behind this whole event - takes the stand. He says that meaningful impact will only come with big fuel efficiency gains "across the board."

8:50 am - since we don't liveblog many events on AutoblogGreen, I'll explain that all you need to do to see the immediate updates is to refresh the page a lot (hit F5 or click reload). I'll post the winning car as soon as it's announced, so click early and often :)

8:52 am - To be considered, a car must be introduced after January 1, and the GCJ jury gives precedence to models young in their lifespan.

8:54 am - the winner is a diesel

8:55 am - it's the Jetta TDI! Nice.

9:03 am - that was over quickly. More pictures in a minute.

9:34 am - Gallery added and there's a press release after the jump.




PRESS RELEASE:

Volkswagen's Jetta TDI Named 2009 Green Car of the Year(R)
Green Car Journal Announces Winner at the Los Angeles Auto Show

LOS ANGELES, Nov 20, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Volkswagen's milestone 2009 Jetta TDI has been named Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car of the Year(R), besting competitors that included a pair of advanced hybrids, a clean diesel sport sedan, and a trendy fuel-efficient microcar. This is the first time that a clean diesel model has been awarded the title Green Car of the Year(R). Green Car Journal has been unveiling the Green Car of the Year(R) winner at the LA Auto Show every year since it initiated the annual award in 2005.
"The 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI epitomizes what the Green Car of the Year(R) honor is all about," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com. "It raises the bar significantly in environmental performance with its EPA estimated 41 mpg highway fuel economy, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and extremely low tailpipe emissions. This is all the more impressive when you consider the Jetta TDI is a clean diesel, achieving the kind of fuel efficiency offered by gasoline-electric hybrids but in a more affordable way."

Volkswagen's Jetta TDI features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged direct injection engine featuring the latest in diesel injection and emissions technology that allows it to meet strict emissions standards in all 50 states. Although its mission is to provide buyers a comfortable and fuel efficient five-passenger family sedan at an affordable $21,990, there's a bit of performance in the bargain because of this clean diesel engine's abundant low-end torque and the Jetta's well-tuned suspension. This Volkswagen's new-generation diesel powerplant is also exceptionally quiet for a diesel, reflecting just how far advanced diesel technology has come in recent years.

A jury of environmental and automotive experts selected the 2009 Jetta TDI from the field of five finalists that also included the BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2 Mode Hybrid, and smart fortwo. This jury is comprised of nine jurors including Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; automotive expert and Tonight Show host Jay Leno; automotive icon Carroll Shelby; and four Green Car Journal editors.
About Green Car of the Year(R)

The Green Car of the Year(R) award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Since 1992, Green Car Journal has focused on the intersection of automobiles, energy, and environment, first with an industry newsletter and then with an award-winning auto enthusiast magazine. Today, the magazine is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. Green Car of the Year(R) is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc. Additional information about the 2009 Green Car of the Year(R) can be found at GreenCar.com.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know what will happen with these old fart car manufacturers, volks and the rest. Proclaiming a diesel car in 2008 ' the best green car of the year' is a statement that actual car manufacturers have nothing to say and offer as an alternative to polluting petrol. They lauph at us. They should have proclaim the honda fcx with true new technology that produce zero emissions like e.p.a was wanting from long long time ago until it happen for real then they say diesel is the best.

      Only volkwagen is interrested to sell a tier 2 bin 5 diesel because it cost them 20x less money then gm, chrsler and ford because they already have diesel car and the invesment is lower for them to please e.p.a for a year maximum because e.p.a change the rules each 6 months or so. It use 15% more diesel to respect that norm because they feed the catalyzer diesel fuel to burn the soot and particulate inside the catalyzer at any given rpm and load applied to the engine, a wonderful piece of nearly impossible engineering except for the zealous messing with that. And after a while this car might have problems respecting the annual emission test and might need 10 000$ repair each year for replacing the burned catalyzer that must run at 10 000 degres fahreiheit to operate. It must offer a sup-par driving experience too because when car are tune to respect almost impossible goal from e.p.a then the operation is constant hiccup and vibration of the engine and the engine have a shorter lifespan.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A major problem with the diesel powered cars is the price of diesel. In other countries around the world, diesel is cheaper or comparable to gasoline prices. Here in the USA, diesel is taxed as a commercial fuel so that the price is the same if you're driving a Kenworth or a VW TDI sedan. Get the commercial taxes out of the fuel price and watch sales take off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'd take the Vue. IF IT SHIPPED. Shouldn't it have been thrown out before the judging even started?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why was the Prius not on the list?

      Dont forget that there are a lot of cars that beat the Jetta TDI emits on CO2 and Diesel is still oil, it cost more, and the car cost more too. I would like to see some BEV or REEVs up there.

      I dont know about other states, but Califonia has gas pumps that keep gasoline evaperative emmisions in check.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I test drove both the '08 Prius and the '09 VW Jetta - TDI.

      Waited for a California VW TDI for TEN years. Not available in the US by restriction of trade, NOT emissions. 70% of new vehicles in some European countries are diesel.

      After the test drive - forget it. Lovely car. Pity about the IC engine. It is the past.

      The Prius is quite as nice to drive as the TDI. But urban mpg is much better. 48 vs 28 mpg. 99% of my driving is urban. '09 Prius mpg will be MUCH greater.

      BEVs / Prius will do 99% of my driving.

      Thanks Chevron / Big 3 U.S. automakers for restricting diesels and BEVs for so long. Now S__ off.

      The TDI does get good highway mpg. Emisions are slightly worse than a Prius ...

      BUT
      Plug the Prius in and for thirty miles the emissions are ZERO (locally).
      AND the electricity costs ONE SIXTH of the gas cost
      AND it helps National Security (Fewer Oil Wars)
      AND it doesn't transfer boatloads of money overseas
      AND it develops jobs HERE
      AND it saves the environment (CO2)

      I love TDIs but BEVs ARE coming. TDIs WILL go away. (5, 10 years?)

      Prius is an impressive intermediate step. But a BEV or Andy Frank hybrid is infinitely better.

      The future belongs to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).

      See suggested EVs - WHO TO TRUST? via comments (URL limit three DOH!) at http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/02/27/gm-battery-supplier-cobasys-in-bad-financial-shape/

      Become immune to FUD - do the reading :-)




      • 6 Years Ago
      Okee-do-kee, everybody yell, "Whoop-dee-doo" and throw that green confetti from Washington Theater supply, so we can "wax on, wax off" to the next death throe, Blanco.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brandon - you beat me to it. That's exactly what I was going to mention.

      One comment...actually the evaporative emissions from "PZEV" gasoline vehicles are not REALLY zero, they're just below a "deminimus" amount that CARB considers zero (0.0 grams/mile). If you look at the actual certified emissions data, the PZEV-certified Prius has higher vehicular evaporative emissions (0.013 g/mi) than tailpipe HC emissions (0.009 g/mi). Total HC emissions (0.022 g/mi) are almost twice as high as the Jetta TDI's total HC emissions (0.012 g/mi).

      Paul - that's counter intuitive. About 80% of "heavy" crude hydrocarbons are middle distillate or heavier. Why would it be easier to get gasoline (a lighter hydrocarbon than diesel (middle distillate)) from heavy crude than from light crude? Do you have any references for your assertion?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The problem with "clean diesel" is that you need sweet crude to make it.
      Much of the oil from the middle east is sour crude - it is plentiful, but difficult to make low sulfer diesel from.

      Per 42 gallon Barrel of oil:
      Sweet crude can produce 30 gallons of diesel & jet fuel.
      Sour crude can produce 12 gallons of diesel & jet fuel.
      Sour crude can produce 21 gallons of gasoline.

      So while new cleaner diesel technology is helpful for those applications that require diesel, we wont be able to ramp production to allow for large growth in the sector and it can only be a small portion of the energy mix used for transportation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Perfect choice. While it's a shame diesel is so expensive - and that's purely a manufacturing capacity decision away from being history - the car still makes much more sense than a gasser or a hybrid. My gas Jetta got 28 MPG highway, which is no bargain for a car that small, and at 41 MPG the diesel will still be cheaper to operate day-to-day - again, it's a shame refineries don't move some capacity to diesel to rectify this.

      Unfortunately, maintenance intervals are closer together with diesels, so that's something to consider - and yet again, if refiners just did their jobs with an eye toward how green diesels are a good thing, this wouldn't be an issue.

      Finally, it is the mechanical complexity of hybrids that will doom them. Nobody talks about this, it seems, but many people have constant problems with their hybrids, and it's really no wonder. There's just way to much that can go wrong with them, and so it will.

      Call me when a dual mode hybrid gets to 200K problem-free miles like some of the Dodge diesel trucks do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In every emissions catagory except NOx it would qualify for PZEV. In evap emissions it is hundreds of times better than any gasoline car, even the Prius, because diesel doesn't evaporate. I know the Prius and other PZEV have evap controls so their evaporative emissions are essentiallty zero at the car, but for their complete cycle that gasoline has to get from the refinery to the station and into the tank, and tons of it will evaporate where with diesel it is essentially zero for the complete cycle. And about particulate emissions, with a particulate trap, clean diesels produce 0 measurable particulate matter, less than any gasoline vehicle can claim. These are not anywhere near the "dirty" diesels of old.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I was rooting for the Fusion hybrid, but the Jetta deserves it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think it's the VW Lingyu hydrogen ?

      http://www.ecolo-trader.fr/Wolksvagen-a-hydrogene-made-in-China-La-Lingyu-vtptc-213.php

      Why a diesel ... ??? it's a joke !
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