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Eco-consciousness is a trend for marketers currently; people everywhere are transitioning to more green lifestyles with most looking for a green car when searching for used cars for sale at their local dealership. According to a survey conducted by Time Magazine, 78 percent of those polled said they would be willing to pay $2,000 more for a car that gets 35 m.p.g. than for a similar one that gets only 25 m.p.g. When judging which new cars are really 2013’s best, it’s smart to follow what the most educated, credible non-biased experts have to say on the matter. Luckily, environmental-automotive industry veterans like the Green Car Journal take the matter very seriously and annually gather a group of various industry experts to critically judge new vehicles. Which cars made the cut? And don’t forget, if you’re unfortunate enough to be in a car accident with one of these lovely vehicles coming up hire an attorney after a vehicle collision to ensure you’ll get the support you need.

How a Car’s Greenness is Judged

For eight years, the Green Car Journal has honored automotive innovators in environmental car manufacturing with their Green Car of the Year award, presented at the annual L.A. Auto Show.

According to the journal has documented industry advancements for 20 years and this year’s judges included Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, Ocean Futures Society president Jean-Michel Cousteau, Natural Resources Defense Council president Frances Beinecke, and Global Green USA president Matt Petersen, plus the “Tonight Show” host and auto enthusiast Jay Leno and Green Car Journal staff.” The group rates vehicles based on tailpipe/CO2 emissions, gasoline efficiency, electric drive efficiency, affordability, functionality, availability, petroleum use and overall environmental impact.

Ford Fusion: Green Car of the Year

“From EcoBoost to hybrid and plug-in hybrid offerings, the new Fusion is delivering best-in-class fuel economy all wrapped in a dynamic package,” said David Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager on the company’s media website.

According to the Ford Fusion website, the vehicle runs on a hybrid engine and electric motor, built with power-split architecture which allows for them to work together or separately. The car’s Lithium ion battery pack allows for the vehicle to travel up to 62 mph on full electric mode. Another innovative feature of the new vehicle model is i’s use of regenerative breaking, where the vehicle actually sends the energy used from breaking back to battery to be stored for use. The new Fusion is available in two EcoBoost engine sizes a 2.0Lmated to six-speed automatic transmission featuring paddle shifters and a 1.6L EcoBoost engine mated to six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission. In addition, owners have the option to shut the engine off when the vehicle stops to reduce emissions, and seamlessly restarts once the owner’s foot alleviates the brake.

Four Runners Up for Green Car of the Year

This year’s runners-up included the Ford C-MAX, Toyota Prius c, Dodge Dart Aero, and the Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV.

Ford C-MAX

The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi both offer an engine that was designed for environmental efficiency. According to the C-MAX website the Hybrid offers the new 2.0L Atkinson-cycle I-4 gas engine is teamed with an advanced high-voltage lithium-ion battery and Ford’s new electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (eCVT). The C-MAX Energi is the plug-in version of the hybrid, which combines battery technology with an electric motor and gasoline engine.

Toyota Prius c

The next car, The Toyota Prius c is probably one of the better known hybrid models. The c is the smallest Prius in the series and gets about 53 city MPG, making it the most efficient of it’s Prius family members.

Dodge Dart Aero

The next vehicle was made with sleek design and functionality in mind. According to The Dodge Dart Aero website, creators of the vehicle looked over every component and found ways to squeeze even more efficiency out. The car gets 41 MPG, 160 horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque and is made with Aerodynamic qualities that reduce drag, cheat the wind and support efficiency. The car runs on a 1.4 Litter turbocharged engine that is powered by MultiAir technology which allows direct and dynamic control of air intake and combustion.

Eco-Friendly SUV

The Mazda CX-5 SkyACTIV is the only SUV that made the list and was named the 2012-2013 Car of the Year Japan by the Japan Car of the Year committee. According to a press release on Mazda’s website “the CX-5 features Mazda’s new-generation SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine boasts powerful driving comparable to a 4.0-liter V8 gasoline engine vehicle thanks to 420 N-m of maximum torque. At the same time, it achieves an SUV class-topping fuel economy rating*2 of 18.6 km/L (JC08 test cycle mode with FWD model).”