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SUVs race the Prius to Oscar green carpet
LOS ANGELES |
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Watch out in that little Prius!
General Motors Corp (GM.N) may drive Toyota Motor Corp's (7203.T) environmentally friendly sedan off the green carpet this year, giving stars rides to the Oscars -- in sports utility vehicles.
Driving a Prius hybrid has become the standard way for Hollywood stars to flaunt their environmental credentials. But GM says more than 75 will get to the Academy Awards this weekend in SUVs that run on ethanol, have hybrid engines, or rely on zero-emission fuel cells.
"It has been such a Toyota top-sided story until now," said GM spokeswoman Christi Conti, declining to say exactly who would be behind the wheel of hybrid GMC Yukons that get 22 miles per gallon on the highway.
"Someone like Cameron Diaz is on the presenter list. I don't know what she is going to arrive in. It was offered to all the presenters and all the performers," she added.
"There's never at any awards show been a fleet of fuel cell vehicles," she said.
Stars have arrived in green vehicles like the Prius, which gets up to 45 miles per gallon on the highway for at least five years, however, and Global Green, organizer of the Red Carpet/Green Cars campaign, is not happy about the SUVs.
The Yukon's cousin, GM's Chevy Tahoe, won the 'green car of the year' award from Green Car Journal this year, but the idea of calling a car with 20 miles per gallon environmentally friendly was offensive to Global Green USA President Matt Petersen.
"They are trying to peddle a gas guzzler as a green car," he said. "It is clear GM is capitalizing on our work the last five years to get stars in green cars and to capture the willingness of the entertainment industry to do something."
GM's Oscars fleet will include some hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars with zero emissions, but Petersen said the focus should be on technology that is available to consumers now.
"It is an improvement over what they did last year, which is put people in Cadillac Escalades," he allowed. Actually, Escalades took stars to parties after the show in 2007 -- and GM plans a hybrid of that luxury SUV, too.
(Reporting by Peter Henderson, editing by Jackie Frank)
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