After running their radio and print ads for the last few weeks, and creating a few websites all designed to sway consumer opinion away from higher government-mandated fuel economy requirements, The Auto Alliance is back with similar tactics, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The problem, as UCS sees it, is that the ads are only focusing on the surcharges that gas-guzzling vehicles would receive while leaving out the vital information that the other 65 percent of vehicles would qualify for a rebate or fall between the rebate and the surcharge - effectively zero-ing out. The Alliance has also created a California-specific webiste: wedrivecalifornia.com.

According to Charles Territo, a spokesman for the Alliance, "We fundamentally think that these car taxes are unfair to large families, small businesses, working people, farmers, contractors and anyone else who needs a larger vehicle." Read more to his argument here.

We've got the more of the statement from the Union of Concerned Scientists after the break.

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[Source: Union of Concerned Scientists]

"This is another dishonest campaign from an auto industry willing to deceive lawmakers and the public on legislation that could save people money and clean up the environment. Just two weeks ago, the auto companies' lobby group aired misleading radio ads about federal fuel economy legislation. Just last week, the alliance came to California to speak out against the Pavley clean car law. Now they're lying about the Clean Car Discount bill. The automakers have fallen into a sad pattern of using lawyers and slick public relations tactics to fight good laws instead of using their engineers to build cleaner cars.

"Contrary to what the automakers say, the Clean Car Discount bill (AB 493) preserves consumer choice. To use the 2005 model year as an example, the Toyota RAV4 SUV would qualify for a nearly $900 rebate. The Honda CR-V and Ford Escape would qualify for rebates worth more than $300.

"Several minivans, including the Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Honda Odyssey would fall into the zero band. The Regular Cab version of the Toyota Tacoma pickup would also fall into the zero band, while the Ford Ranger Regular Cab pickup would qualify for a rebate worth more than $350.

"While the auto industry ad implies that there'd be a huge surcharge on a lot of vehicles, only the most highly polluting models, such as the Ford Excursion and Hummer H2 would incur the maximum surcharge of $2,500. The bill also waives surcharges for many small businesses, emergency responders, and low-income drivers.

"This is a bill that can make cleaner cars more affordable for everybody. California has been leading the way on smart environmental legislation and it's a shame that automakers are trying to drag us backwards. People want cleaner cars, not dirty tricks."


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