It all started with Leonardo DiCaprio, when he drove his own Toyota Prius to the Oscars years ago. Now the latest 2010 Toyota Prius is joining the tradition of green cars pulling up to the red carpet.

It's all about free publicity for Toyota, which has partnered with Econation to provide new 2010 Priuses to celebs for award shows and special events. And what's more special than the Academy Awards, Sunday's must-watch evening event?

In this case, those 2010 Priuses will be high-line package with the optional "Solar Moonroof," which covers the glass panel with photovoltaic cells. They were not only the hot ticket at the exclusive Prius Connection previews, since they not only look cool--for instant green cred--but generate electricity too. Not anywhere near enough to charge the battery pack, mind you, but adequate to power fans that suck hot air out of the interior, which cuts the load on the air-conditioning to save even more gasoline.

Leonardo DiCaprio was the first Hollywood star to be seen taking a Toyota Prius to the Oscars

Leonardo DiCaprio was the first Hollywood star to be seen taking a Toyota Prius to the Oscars

What's Econation, you say? Let us quote: "Created in response to demand from entertainment industry clientele, Econation offers chauffeured car service to a number of Fortune 500 clients using the most advanced hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles not generally available to the public in major markets throughout the United States, Canada and Europe."

Translation: If you're famous enough, and your publicist insists that you go green to burnish your image after that unfortunate stint in rehab following the dismissed felony charge ... we'll take you there.

Says Econation's Ben Bloch, far more politely, "You might be surprised how many people prefer a Prius over a stretch or an SUV these days. Everyone from CEO's of the biggest film studios to Academy Award(TM) [sic] nominees request the Prius when they're going out on the town because it makes the best statement from an environmental perspective, and is stylish and comfortable as well."

Econation is one of several "green limo" services; another is New York's Ozo Car. Though we're a bit worried about the Lincoln Town Car that rotates with the Toyota Prius and the GMC Yukon (Hybrid, we presume) on Econation's front page. Did we miss a Town Car Hybrid launch?

To be fair to Leo, by the way, we have to admit pioneers like DiCaprio and Ed Begley Jr. were green long before your average B-list starlet put "Get Prius" on her ToDo list right before "SWAG TENT OMG ! ! !"

The Prius isn't the only green car headed for Hollywood; it's rumored that several stars will drive their own Tesla Roadsters to the bash as well.

[PHOTO COLLAGE: Flickr user ShawnNoble]