Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of the Green Car Journal — which is published by RJ Cogan Specialty Publications Group Inc. — and CarsOfChange.com, called rescinding the awards “unfortunate but appropriate.
“These models were selected as Green Car of the Year above others for compelling reasons,” he said, “including high fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, a fun-to-drive nature and the ability to meet 50 state emissions requirements with advanced diesel technology.”
However, VW has now admitted its software programming intentionally caused in-lab emissions testing to read significantly lower nitrogen oxide emissions than these vehicles actually produced on the road. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board emissions certifications used in the process of determining award eligibility were thus incorrect, the Journal said, and have since been declared invalid by these government agencies. This means both models would have been ineligible to be finalists in their respective award years.
In returning its award, the Journal noted that Audi's Mr. Keogh said the car company “has won hundreds of races and thousands of awards throughout its history. But we only want to win fair and square.
“Therefore, in light of recent developments, we believe the only right thing to do is to return this important recognition of environmental stewardship. We are determined to compete and hopefully win Green Car of the Year awards the proper way in future years.”
The magazine's annual Green Car of the Year award recognizes new vehicle models that “best raise the bar in environmental performance.” Criteria considered include efficiency, emissions and overall environmental improvement, along with market significance, value and widespread availability to consumers.