WASHINGTON — What´s it worth to the tire industry to get Congress to see things its way? How about $550,000?
That´s the amount the Rubber Manufacturers Association spent in total to lobby Congress last year, mostly on a national tire fuel efficiency program, according to forms submitted to the Senate.
The RMA paid Compass Consulting Group $100,000 to lobby on its behalf, and the association spent $450,000 on its own internal lobbying efforts in 2006, an RMA spokesman said. The internal funds were spent primarily on the tire fuel efficiency effort and an issue in a Department of Transportation appropriations bill.
In May, the Senate Commerce Committee passed a corporate average fuel economy bill that would require auto makers´ car and truck fleets to average 35 mpg in fuel economy by 2020. That bill included language the RMA supports to establish a mandatory tire fuel efficiency consumer information program to be administered by the National Traffic Safety Administration.
RMA supports the legislation as a way to forestall nationwide adoption of a California law that requires replacement tires to be at least as fuel efficient as original equipment tires. The RMA helped defeat legislation similar to California´s law in four states.
The RMA spokesman said a bill with the program passed a House committee last year but never was voted on in the full House. The association is pushing the program in the House again this year.
"We´re definitely advancing that effort pretty well," the spokesman said.