Auto Companies Create Grassroots Campaigns Against Fuel Standards

Via digg (originally from here).

Auto companies have creates a few websites which encourage the public to contact their representatives and oppose a fuel standard reform – a reform that, I believe, will not only help the environment, but ultimately it will also help the American economy by reducing dependency on foreign oil.

Here are links to a couple of the websites:

As usual in corporate land, these companies didn’t create the sites by themselves. Instead, they let some front organizations do the work for them. A whois query reveals that DriveCongress in owned by Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. As for the first site, the query doesn’t return any useful information – it just lists 1&1 as the owner. 1&1 is an internet registrar, thus it does not really own the site, it just lists itself as the owner to protect the identity of the real owner.

(A side note: 1&1 is a really crappy registrar. I once made the mistake of using their services, and I strongly recommend against it.)

I think that for grassroot look-a-like sites, they are doing a pretty good job, as long as the reader is an average joe that understands nothing about environmentalism, and is not an internet savvy user. The Contact Us page on the first site lists an address with just a postal code – no name, no street address; a sure hint that they are hiding from visitors. That alone is a sign not to mistake this site for a representative of an authentic grassroot movement (that is true even if you happen to agree with the opinion expressed in that site).

A few more things to note:

  • A quote from the first site – “The American auto industry is taking the lead in incorporating alternative fuels and developing new technologies”.
    Huh? is that why they are losing sales to Toyota’s and Honda’s hybrid vehicles like there is no tomorrow? Did you know that by 2012, the entire Toyota fleet sold in Canada will be based on hybrid technology? (yes, I mean the entire fleet, including their SUVs and trucks) So who is the leader in developing new technologies? This quote is so falsified, that it is just another proof that we are surrounded by bullshit.
  • As mentioned in a couple of comments on digg, this shows that the auto companies are afraid. In a twisted way, I guess that’s a good thing. Perhaps they’ll eventually stop the lobbying/PR/legislative parade, and start to actually make better cars.
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