Bloomberg: Carmakers Blitz U.S. Lawmakers Amid Fight Over Fuel-Economy Rule

Written by admin on July 26th, 2011

“Auto lobbyists had to tread carefully in Washington for a couple of years after the bailout, but as business and profits are restored, so is the industry’s credibility — and clout — with lawmakers.”


The U.S. auto industry, rejuvenated after the government’s $80 billion bailout of General Motors Co. (GM) and Chrysler Group LLC, is stepping up its lobbying and spending on political donations as the White House moves to boost fuel economy standards.

GM spent $5.5 million during the first six months of 2011 to try to influence Congress and federal agencies, up from $4.1 million in the same period a year earlier, according to lobbying disclosures released yesterday. Ford Motor Co. (F) spent $3.4 million in 2011, versus $2.8 million in 2010. Chrysler more than doubled its lobbying spending to $2.4 million from $1.1 million. Auto companies’ political action committees also gave more to federal campaigns, Federal Election Commission reports show.

The White House is in talks with automakers on fuel economy standards for 2017 to 2025. President Barack Obama’s administration in June floated the idea of a fleetwide average of 56.2 miles per gallon by the end of the period, up from 27.3 mpg now. That represents about a 5 percent annual increase. Regulators’ final proposal is due in September.

“It is a life-or-death issue” for the automakers, James Burnley, a former U.S. transportation secretary, said in a telephone interview. “They have to use the usual tools to educate decision-makers.


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