Summary:

According to filings via the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, GM outspent Nissan North America when it came to climate and energy-related lobbying in 2010. Will that give either company an edge in the U.S. market with their inaugural EVs?

Nissan's LEAF

Given all the heated comparisons between GM’s inaugural mainstream electric vehicle and Nissan’s first EV the LEAF, I thought I’d take a look at some of the climate-related U.S. lobbying numbers from GM and Nissan North America in 2010. While GM clearly has a bigger stake in working closely with the U.S. government (that whole part-government-ownership thing), GM also way outspent Nissan in terms of lobbying dollars for energy, climate change and global warming-related policies.

According to filings I looked through on the Lobbying Disclosure Act Database, GM spent over $4.56 million on climate and energy-related lobbying, while Nissan North America spent $2.93 million. You can use keywords, like “climate” to search through lobbying filings on the database. Some of the items on the conjoined lobbying lists also included non-climate related items (like telecommunications and transportation safety).

GM cited using lobbyists to influence policy related to Climate Change Legislation (H.R.2454, S.1733), CAFE standards, Advanced Technology Vehicles Programs (S. 2843, H.R. 3246), R&D Funding for Cellulosic Ethanol and Renewable Fuels, Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, Advanced Batteries, Direct EPA to publish list of energy-efficient vehicles (H.R. 5438), Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 661), Restoring America’s Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency Act of 2009, (S. 3059), and the National Energy Efficiency Enhancement Act of 2010.

Nissan North America was slightly less comprehensive, and noted in its filings that it has been lobbying around “energy/fuel economy issues in general,” CAFE standards, air quality issues, global warming issues, Practical Energy and Climate Plan Act of 2010, a joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the EPA relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act (S J Res. 26)
Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, and the Electric Vehicles tax deduction/credit issue.

Will the lobbying figures have any effect on how popular each of the companies’ inaugural EVs are? It probably won’t be a make or break issue — particularly since GM and Nissan decided to use different technologies for their EVs — but perhaps it could help one company with a slight edge in the U.S. market.

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