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Green Car Journal Names 2007 Green Car of the Year

The 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show has turned out to be the "greenest" car show in recent memory with many advanced technology and environmentally positive vehicles shown prominently on the show floor. This focus has drawn the attention of ABC's "Good Morning America," which includes a segment on "green cars" with Green Car Journal publisher Ron Cogan on this morning's program.

Amid the many advanced technologies and fuels being explored in the auto industry today, hydrogen continues to generate the most attention because it's sustainable, offers a viable path toward energy diversity, and allows vehicles to operate with zero or near-zero emissions. This morning's segment includes a focus on Honda's FCX Concept, a highway capable advanced vehicle that uses hydrogen and an electrochemical fuel cell to power the car's electric drive motors. The advantage: It does this efficiently and without combustion, which means no greenhouse gas emissions are created. Like Honda, all major automakers have dynamic hydrogen vehicle programs underway as they create the cars of the future.

"Hydrogen vehicles may seem far in the future to some, but they have come a long way in recent years and most drive just like the cars in your driveway," says Ron Cogan, veteran auto writer and founder of the Green Car Journal. "While many developmental challenges must still be worked out, the Honda FCX and other hydrogen vehicles we've driven like Chevy's Equinox Fuel Cell, Ford's Focus FCV, and BMW's Hydrogen 7 illustrate that these vehicles are destined to be part of our future."

Green Car Journal brought 22 advanced vehicles to the Los Angeles Auto Show's media days to provide journalists the opportunity to experience the industry's most innovative vehicles, technologies, and fuels on public roads in a single location. The event, Hybrids & Green Cars/LA, offered drive opportunities in vehicles powered by hydrogen, E85 ethanol, biodiesel, gasoline-electric hybrid powerplants, advanced diesel, and near-zero emission gasoline engines.

Green Car Journal has also recently awarded its annual 2007 Green Car of the Year award to the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid. The award was presented by Green Car Journal during a press conference at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show. With EPA estimated fuel economy of 40 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, the hybrid Camry variant offers a marked improvement over the standard four-cylinder Camry's 24/34 mpg and offers a reasonable price of just over $26,000.

"The Camry not only protects the planet, it protects consumers' pocketbooks," says Jason Mark, vehicles director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. "It's one of the most cost-effective hybrids on the market."

Green Car Journal editors reviewed dozens of 2007 model year vehicles to identify those deemed to have raised the bar in environmental performance, which met the award program's rules and would be on sale no later than January 1st, 2007. These included near-zero emission and high fuel economy gasoline vehicles, advanced diesels, vehicles that operate on alternative fuels, and gasoline-electric hybrids. Ultimately, five were singled out as finalists for 2007 Green Car of the Year award consideration. Finalists included the natural gas Honda Civic GX, Lexus GS 450h Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC, Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid.

This year's Green Car of the Year jury included automotive icon Carroll Shelby and the leaders of many of the country's most prominent environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, International Council on Clean Transportation, Union of Concerned Scientists, Ocean Futures Society, and Worldwatch Institute. The Camry Hybrid won a majority vote from these jurors and four Green Car Journal staff that comprised the 11 member GCOY jury.

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