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Ford Fusion is U.S. Green Car of the Year

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The 2013 line of Ford Fusion vehicles was named Green Car of the Year at the opening of the LA Auto Show last week.

Green Car Journal chose the sedan for its low petroleum use, its low carbon dioxide emissions and its pricing, which the publication said could lead to the kind of sales "that can truly influence environmental improvement." The Fusion starts at $24,049.

The 2013 Fusion, which starts at $24,049, is available with various engine options, including a gasoline-powered model, a hybrid model that claims fuel consumption of 4.0L/100km city and 4.1 highway. and an upcoming plug-in hybrid called the Energi that gets the equivalent of 100 mpg (2.3L/100 km).

"This is a great testament for Ford," David Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager, said upon acceptance of the award. "We've moved our brand from laggards to leaders in fuel economy."

To win the award, the Fusion beat four other nominees: the Dodge Dart Aero, the Ford C-MAX, the Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv and the Toyota Prius c.

It was chosen by a panel of judges made up of environmental and auto experts, including the director of the Sierra Club, Jacques Cousteau's eldest son and Jay Leno.

The award went to the Honda Civic Natural Gas model last year and to the Chevrolet Volt the year before.

-- Los Angeles Times