SANTA MONICA, CAGreen Car Journal has announced the finalists for its annual Green Car of the Year award for 2009. The award recognizes new model vehicles that provide real answers for new car buyers looking for a personal stake in lessening environmental impact, according to Business Wire.

The five finalists for Green Car Journal's 2009 Green Car of the Year award are: BMW 335d, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid, smart fortwo, and the Volkswagen Jetta TDI. On the morning of Nov. 20, the winner will be unveiled at a press conference at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The finalists are currently featured on

"There is a sea change occurring in the auto industry that's finding an ever-increasing number of 'green' cars being introduced at new car showrooms," said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal and editor of "That's what made this year's selection of Green Car of the Year nominees all the more challenging. This is a real plus for new car buyers, since the trend will continue to gather momentum as automakers re-invent themselves in a changing auto market that's requiring higher efficiency and greater environmental performance."

Vehicles using all types of technologies, fuels, and powerplants are eligible for the Green Car of the Year program. To qualify for consideration as a nominee, a vehicle must exhibit characteristics that substantially raise the bar in environmental performance and be in production by Jan. 1 of the award year. Plus, a potential nominee must be driven by Green Car Journal to allow experiencing driving dynamics first-hand.

The 2009 Green Car of the Year will be selected by a jury that includes Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society; automotive expert and Tonight Show host Jay Leno; and automotive icon Carroll Shelby.