For the environmental black marks they've received, Volkswagen and Audi have been asked to give up the green.
The two car companies, embroiled in a widening scandal for their part in cheating on auto diesel emissions tests, have lost the prestigious Green Car of the Year Awards they won for their 2009 Jetta TDI and 2010 Audi A3 TDI.
The two "clean" diesel vehicles are included in a batch of 11 million cars worldwide that VW has admitted are fitted with a "defeat device" designed to trick emissions testing. Both vehicles are on the list of cars the Environmental Protection Agency has charged with emitting as much as 40 times the permitted levels of dangerous pollutants.
That batch of cars includes diesels fitted with 4-cylinder engines built by VW, among them 2009 to 2015 VW Jetta, Golf, Passat and Beetle cars, plus the Audi A3.
The awards were taken away by Green Car Journal, whose editor and publisher announced his decision Tuesday night.
"Rescinding the Green Car of the Year awards for the VW Jetta TDI and Audi A3 TDI is unfortunate but appropriate," said Ron Cogan.
Attempting to make a virtue of a necessity, Audi of America President Scott Keogh said in a statement, "Audi 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."
Volkswagen of America has also agreed to return its award.
The annual Green Car of the Year award is meant to encourage automakers to continue building vehicles that combine performance, efficiency and low emissions.
Winners for the last several years have been the 2015 BMW i3, 2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Ford Fusion -- the latter two for their entire family of gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models.
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