According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the automobile industry spent a record $70.3 million lobbying Washington in 2007. The $70.3 million figure represents nearly a 20 percent increase over 2006 numbers, and comes in a year when the industry faced the most dramatic increase in fuel efficiency standards in years. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and United Auto Workers union fought hard to stop the recent CAFE legislation from passing, but were ultimately unsuccessful in their efforts to delay or decrease the new standards.

The industry did score a victory when the EPA refused to grant the state of California a waiver allowing it to adopt more extreme carbon emissions standards from the those the federal government has in place. California is now suing the EPA in federal court, and according to the Wall Street Journal, success for the state would likely lead to at least 19 other states passing their own standards.

General Motors spokesman, Greg Martin, told The Detroit News that GM’s lobbying activities are “proportional to the potential competitive and economic impact that proposed legislation could have on our business.” GM sunk $14.3 million dollars into lobbying in 2007.