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2011 Scion iQ – Click above for high-res image gallery

Nissan Leaf – Click above for high-res image gallery

Yesterday's second annual Green Car Summit was not nearly as fiery as last year's discussion, and maybe that's a good thing.

Last year, Volkswagen's new Jetta TDI was named the 2009 Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show, which means that the Volkswagen Golf TDI has a bit of baggage if it wants to win the 2010 award. Regardless, the Golf was named one of five finalists today, along with the Audi A3 TDI, the Honda Insight, the Mercury Milan Hybrid and the Toyota Prius. Odd that the Mercury would be chosen above the Ford Fusion Hybrid, but so it goes. That makes it two diesels and three hybrids vying for top spot.

Mercury Milan Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery of GCOTY finalists

Click on the image above for a gallery of the Fisker Karma

The Green Car Vision awards celebrate a car that's got its headlights pointed down the road of the future. Among this year's five finalists are two serial hybrids (Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma) two electric cars (MINI E and Mitsubishi i-MiEV), and one hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (Honda FCX Clarity). It seems like a pretty good breakdown of where things stand now, with serial, plug-in hybrids and electric cars duking it out in center court and a hydrogen vehicle thrown in to keep things honest.

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

The onslaught of COTY awards continues, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid can add another trophy to the case after being named 2007 Green Car of the Year yesterday on the last day of the 2006 LA Auto Show. The Camry Hybrid and its purely petrol sister car also won Motor Trend's golden calipers earlier this month.

I've been a charter subscriber to the Green Car Journal since it developed into a 4-color quarterly magazine in 2003. Not that I plunk down a check every year but I've known the editor, Ron Cogan, for a long time and he graciously keeps me on the comp list. Ron took a big risk moving his family to Central California and starting a newsletter in the early '90s that covered the infant EV and alternative fuel market. I was working on a high-performance magazine and driving speed-burning, gas-guzzle