Five fuel efficient cars are vying for the “Green Car of the Year” award, which will be announced in only a few weeks during the L.A. Auto Show.
Which cars made the list? In no particular order, it was the Dodge Dart Aero, Ford C-Max, Ford Fusion, Mazda CX-5 SkyActiv and Toyota Prius C. Among the judges, there will be comedian and celebrity car enthusiast Jay Leno, Ocena Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau and Michael Brune, executive director to the Sierra Club.
Fuel efficient cars are quickly staking out a spot as some of the world’s most important vehicles as emissions regulations grow tighter. Over the next four years, that will only become more relevant as the now two-term Obama administration presses toward its 54.5 mpg rule by 2025.
But recent news has that rule raising some questions in light of the scandal surrounding Hyundai’s false fuel consumption claims. The EPA has been quick to point out that problems like this are extremely rare, but it’s hard not to wonder what might be hiding under other unturned stones.
Sometimes cars fall hopelessly short of their EPA estimated mileage, while others meet or even beat those numbers. AutoGuide found that the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, for example, was actually capable of exceeding the car’s stated highway mileage.
The Dodge Dart Aero, which is a candidate for this year’s award, uses a similar philosophy by using a small displacement turbocharged engine. Also like the Cruze Eco, Dodge engineers reduced the car’s curb weight and gave it an active shutter grille to improve aerodynamics at high speeds.
Still, it’s hard not to look at the Dart Aero, CX-5 and Fusion like honest athletes up against blood dopers when stacked next to the C-Max and Prius C. Both cars take advantage of electric power to boost their fuel efficiency, which arguably puts them on a different playing field.