Those are the past winners of the Green Car of the Year award, given out each year at the LA Auto Show by Green Car Journal. The five finalists for the 2012 award were announced today and there are four different powertrains among them. Here they are: Ford Focus Electric, Honda Civic Natural Gas, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius V and Volkswagen Passat TDI.

The rules for the GCOTY are that the vehicle has to have "quantifiable environmental achievement" as well as market significance and "newness." It has to be available by January 1 of the award year. Green Car Journal editor Ron Cogan said in a statement that the finalists offer "five exceptional answers" to the green car question. Which one is the most exceptional? We'll find out at the LA show on November 17. You can share your opinion in the poll below.

We may have a preview from the DC Auto Show earlier this year, when Green Car Journal gave the Focus Electric its Green Car Vision award. The awards aren't all that connected, though, since the Nissan Leaf won in 2010 while the Chevy Volt won in 2009.

Who should win the 2012 Green Car of the Year award?
Ford Focus Electric 1 (20.0%)
Honda Civic Natural Gas 1 (20.0%)
Mitsubishi i 1 (20.0%)
Toyota Prius V 1 (20.0%)
Volkswagen Passat TDI 1 (20.0%)
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2012 Green Car of the Year® Finalists Revealed
Winner to be Announced at the LA Auto Show Nov. 17

LOS ANGELES, CA October 24, 2011 - Green Car Journal announced its five finalists for the 2012 Green Car of the Year® award today. For the seventh consecutive year, the Green Car of the Year® honors environmental leadership in the automotive field, with the winner being announced during a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show Press Days on Nov. 17. This year's five finalists include the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, 2012 Mitsubishi i, 2012 Toyota Prius v and 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI. The Green Car of the Year® award recognizes vehicles that become available by January 1 of the award year.

These five finalists are also honored as Green Car Journal's Top 5 Green Cars for 2012 for rising to the top of a field replete with increasingly more environmentally conscious and exciting models.

What is notable about this year's field of outstanding nominees is that they represent different takes on what makes a car 'green.' Honda's Civic Natural Gas champions an alternative fuel that burns cleanly and is abundant in the U.S. The Volkswagen Passat TDI continues this automaker's expansion of new clean diesel products that produce significantly lower emissions while achieving an impressively high mpg rating. The Prius v is a larger variant of Toyota's popular hybrid model and marks an expansion of Prius into its own family of vehicles. Ford's Focus Electric and Mitsubishi's i continue the march toward greater choices of zero-emission all-electric vehicles on American highways.

"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 "Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we're going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use. These nominees deserve to be recognized for their unique approaches in providing consumers diverse choices as cars intelligently evolve toward a more environmentally-compatible motoring future."

Narrowing the field to five nominees these days is no easy thing, according to Green Car Journal editors. Literally dozens of models are considered that feature improved environmental impact and increased efficiencies. Vehicles running on all fuels and technologies weigh in, including high-efficiency gasoline and diesel models along with ones that run on gaseous fuels, electricity and other alternative fuels. Along with quantifiable environmental achievement, market significance and 'newness' are but a few of many criteria considered as the field is narrowed to a final five.

Green Car of the Year® jurors include leaders of the nation's top environmental organizations, including Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society and Matt Petersen, president of Global Green USA. Also, Jay Leno, noted auto enthusiast and host of the "Tonight Show," as well as automotive icon Carroll Shelby join Green Car Journal editors in rounding out the 2012 jury.

About Green Car of the Year®
The GCOY award is an important part of Green Car Journal's mission to showcase environmental progress in the auto industry. Founded in 1992, Green Car Journal is considered the premier source of information on high fuel efficiency, low emission, advanced technology, and alternative fuel vehicles. Subscription information, along with a downloadable sample issue, can be found at Green Car of the Year® is a registered trademark of Green Car Journal and RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group, Inc.

About the L.A. Auto Show
As the first major North American Auto Show of the season, the 2011 L.A. Auto Show will host approximately 50 World and North American debuts. Press Days, Nov. 16 and 17, will feature more than 25 press conferences from manufacturers around the globe. Join the LA Auto Show conversation by following the Show at, and sign up for alerts at

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