It’s old news that automobile companies spend a lot of time and money in Washington DC trying to get what they want, but these days they’ve got their eyes on a new prize – electric vehicle (EV) tax breaks. It was just reported that Ford Motor Company spent $1.65 million in the first quarter of 2011 lobbying for EV tax breaks — an increase of 20% over the last quarter. With new EVs coming out left and right, and Ford set to launch their Focus Electric, a lobby for tax breaks for low emissions vehicles is in their interest as well as in the interest of the future of the planet.

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The Washington lobbyists trumpeting the cause of the automobile companies have notoriously been tightly entangled with other lobbyists fighting for the oil industry’s rights. Traditionally the two industrys’ interests have been the same but with the rise in gas prices and the reduction in the cost of low-emissions vehicle technology the oil-auto relationship could be breaking apart — and Ford’s lobbying report is one of the first real signs of a fissure. Ford lobbyists reportedly spent a lot of time going after an increase in the number of EVs eligible for a federal tax credit from 200,000 to 500,000 and incentives for battery manufacturers.

Though they run under the radar of the news media most of the time, lobbyists are extremely influential in Washington — and are required to report on what types of lobbying they’ve done. Spending their days going from lawmaker to lawmaker, they are paid to get votes on the side of the companies that pay their salaries. Seeing Ford put its hefty shoulder behind the EV cause — a great financial move with their first EV coming out this year– means that more companies are likely to follow suit, if they haven’t already.

Via Business Week

Photos by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz