A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency could mean bad things for racers and car enthusiasts across the United States. According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the EPA wants to make it illegal to modify your roadgoing car for racing, and could even prohibit the sale of aftermarket parts that mess with emission control devices.

Tucked away in an EPA proposal titled Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2 is a section that indicates this sort of vehicle modification is a violation of the clean air act. Here's the exact wording, found on page 862 of an official EPA document:

EPA is proposing in 40 CFR 1037.601(a)(3) to clarify that the Clean Air Act does not allow any person to disable, remove, or render inoperative (i.e., tamper with) emission controls on a certified motor vehicle for purposes of competition.

SEMA met with the EPA to confirm the agency's intentions, and issued a statement saying, "The EPA indicated that the regulation would prohibit conversion of vehicles into racecars and make the sale of certain emissions-related parts for use on converted vehicles illegal." The association added, "SEMA will continue to oppose the regulation through the administrative process and will seek congressional support and judicial intervention as necessary."

Cars used exclusively for racing have not always been held to the same emissions standards as their roadgoing counterparts. This EPA document outlines exactly how the Clean Air Act applied to cars used exclusively for racing, as well as new cars the EPA and various automakers classify as "competition" models. Here, it was simply not allowed to modify cars that would be used for both competitive and recreational use.

"This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles," said Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA.

The EPA is expected to publish its final regulations in July. Scroll down to read SEMA's official statement.


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EPA Seeks to Prohibit Conversion of Vehicles into Racecars

SEMA To Oppose Action As Threat to Modified Racecars and Parts Suppliers


WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a regulation to prohibit conversion of vehicles originally designed for on-road use into racecars. The regulation would also make the sale of certain products for use on such vehicles illegal. The proposed regulation was contained within a non-related proposed regulation entitled "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2."

The regulation would impact all vehicle types, including the sports cars, sedans and hatch-backs commonly converted strictly for use at the track. While the Clean Air Act prohibits certain modifications to motor vehicles, it is clear that vehicles built or modified for racing, and not used on the streets, are not the "motor vehicles" that Congress intended to regulate.

"This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles," said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. "Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion."

SEMA submitted comments in opposition to the regulation and met with the EPA to confirm the agency's intentions. The EPA indicated that the regulation would prohibit conversion of vehicles into racecars and make the sale of certain emissions-related parts for use on converted vehicles illegal. Working with other affected organizations, including those representing legions of professional and hobbyist racers and fans, SEMA will continue to oppose the regulation through the administrative process and will seek congressional support and judicial intervention as necessary.

The EPA has indicated it expects to publish final regulations by July 2016.


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