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No electrics among Green Car of the Year finalists

Green Car Journal narrowed down the competition for its Green Car of the Year award to five cars, the winner of which will be announced at the LA Auto Show. The list sticks to gasoline and diesel-powered cars.

2014 Mazda Mazda3
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Green Car Journal announces the winner of its Green Car of the Year award. As a teaser to this year's announcement on November 21, the publication released its list of five finalists for the prize.

This year's finalists are:

The Audi A6 and the BMW 328d represent diesel-fueled cars, a technology that has improved quite a bit in cleaner emissions and general drivability. Green Car Journal includes the Honda Accord for its new direct injection engine and hybrid variant. The Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla both hit the list as mass market cars with high fuel economy.

The absence of any pure electric cars among the finalists may seem odd, but part of Green Car Journal's criteria is availability, based on the idea that these cars will make a greater difference to the environment if more people can get them. Many of the new electric cars on sale now are only available in a few markets, such as along the West Coast or in New York.

Volkswagen and Audi TDI models have fared well in past years for this award, although the A6 TDI may flounder because of its premium pricing. The BMW will probably also find favor for its diesel drivetrain and excellent drivability, but it is also a pricier car.

A win by the Honda Accord would emulate last year's win by the Ford Fusion, which also gained praise for its variety of drivetrain options. The Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla look like they will run neck-and-neck, as each is an affordable car with high fuel economy.