The finalists include:
2009 BMW 335d: The 335d is BMW's first diesel in the United States in a long time; it has the speed and handling of the standard 3 Series, with 36-mpg highway fuel economy .
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid: Ford's first sedan hybrid (along with the Mercury Milan Hybrid) promises class-leading fuel economy and some interesting tech tweaks to help drivers learn more fuel-efficient driving techniques.
2009 Saturn Vue 2-Mode Hybrid: GM's two-mode hybrid system, already found in its big SUVs, makes an appearance in the compact Vue crossover.
2008 Smart Fortwo: It's powered by a gasoline engine--how unconventional!--but the smart rings in 40-mpg plus fuel economy in a two-seat, parking-friendly package.
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Volkswagen's new clean diesels show up in sedan and wagon bodies this year, and the TDI sports fuel economy rated in the 30s--with VW demonstrating that mileage in the 40s isn't just possible, it's easily attained.
GreenCarJournal says it picks new models that "provide real answers for new car buyers looking for a personal stake in lessening environmental impact." The car must also be in production by January 1.
The winner will be announced at the Los Angeles auto show on November 20.