This is the first time in the history of the Green Car Of The Year Awards that the honor has been taken away from the winner. In a statement announcing the change, GCJ publisher Ron Cogan wrote that, "this award rescission should not cast a negative light on advanced diesel technology in general. Many diesel models from a variety of auto manufacturers meet EPA and CARB emissions standards, bringing with them higher fuel efficiency, decreased petroleum use, and lower carbon emissions – all important environmental goals."
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif., Sept. 30, 2015 – Green Car Journal is rescinding the Green Car of the Year® awards previously honoring the 2009 VW Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI, the first time this has occurred in the award program's decade-long history. Audi of America President Scott Keogh has informed Green Car Journal that Audi will return its 2010 Green Car of the Year® award in the wake of Volkswagen Group's admission that it deliberately deceived government authorities about emissions from the Audi A3 TDI. Volkswagen of America has also informed Green Car Journal it will return its 2009 Green Car of the Year® award for the VW Jetta TDI.
"Rescinding the Green Car of the Year® awards for the VW Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI is unfortunate but appropriate," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com. "These models were selected as Green Car of the Year® above others for compelling reasons, including high fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, a fun-to-drive nature, and the ability to meet 50 state emissions requirements with advanced diesel technology."
However, VW Group has now admitted that its software programming intentionally caused in-lab emissions testing to read significantly lower nitrogen oxide emissions than these vehicles actually produced on the road. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emissions certifications used in the process of determining award eligibility were thus incorrect, and have since been declared invalid by these government agencies. This means both models would have been ineligible to be finalists in their respective award years.
In returning its award, Audi's Keogh added that, "Audi has won hundreds of races and thousands of awards throughout its history. But we only want to win fair and square. Therefore, in light of recent developments, we believe the only right thing to do is to return this important recognition of environmental stewardship. We are determined to compete – and hopefully win – Green Car of the Year® awards the proper way in future years."
Green Car Journal points out that this award rescission should not cast a negative light on advanced diesel technology in general. Many diesel models from a variety of auto manufacturers meet EPA and CARB emissions standards, bringing with them higher fuel efficiency, decreased petroleum use, and lower carbon emissions – all important environmental goals. Many are also approved for use with renewable biodiesel fuel.
The annual Green Car of the Year® award recognizes new vehicle models that best raise the bar in environmental performance. Efficiency, emissions, and overall environmental improvement are considered along with market significance, value, and widespread availability to consumers. Recent Green Car of the Year® winners include the 2015 BMW i3; 2014 Honda Accord, including gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid variants; and 2013 Ford Fusion, including gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models.