News & Car Culture

EPA Withdraws Race Car Emissions Rule

The hot rodding community spoke — and the EPA has listened!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it has removed language regarding converting emissions-controlled, street-driven vehicles for racing. The EPA statement said:

“…EPA supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country. EPA’s focus is not on vehicles built or used exclusively for racing, but on companies that don’t play by the rules and that make and sell products that disable pollution controls on motor vehicles used on public roads. These unlawful defeat devices pump dangerous and illegal pollution into the air we breathe.

“The proposed language in the July 2015 proposal was never intended to represent any change in the law or in EPA’s policies or practices towards dedicated competition vehicles. Since our attempt to clarify led to confusion, EPA has decided to eliminate the proposed language from the final rule.

“The Agency will continue to engage with the racing industry and others about ways to ensure that EPA supports racing while maintaining the Agency’s focus where it has always been: reducing pollution from the cars and trucks that travel along America’s roadways and through our neighborhoods.”

The EPA’s decision means you can convert any street-driven car you like into a track-only car without fear of penalty from the EPA. However, SEMA, Summit Racing, and other aftermarket parts interests are still pushing for Congress to ratify the recently introduced RPM Act into law. The RPM Act will essentially protect your right to build competition-only vehicles from EPA overreach. SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting released the following reaction to the EPA announcement:

“We want to thank Congress for pushing EPA to withdraw an ill-conceived proposal. However, confusion reigns: the agency continues to assert new-found authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate modification of vehicles for use in competition. This means that those converting and racing competition vehicles, and the parts and services industries that support them, do so under new EPA policy that considers the activity illegal. Only clarifying legislation, such as that offered under the RPM Act, will confirm that such activity is legal and beyond the reach of future EPA regulations. The racing industry and public need a long-term solution to eliminate any uncertainty regarding how the Clean Air Act is interpreted.”

We’ll be following the proceedings as hearings on the RPM Act continue and we’ll keep you informed as things progress. You can give your Congressman a nudge to support the RPM Act. The SEMA Action Network has a handy online form you can use to ask your local members of Congress to support the RPM Act. We’ve also created a template you can use to write a letter directly to your Congressional representative and Senator. You can copy and paste the text into an email, fill in the appropriate information where noted, and send it to your rep.

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  1. Pingback: The EPA Backs Down & Some of Our Lawmakers Are Not Idiots - Ford Shelby GT500 Forum

  2. Barney Campbell says:

    We have entirely too much government and not enough freedom. Stop bothering hard working, constitution following, tax paying, fun loving American citizens and do your job. PROTECT AND SERVE. Isn’t that what you were sworn to do as representatives of the American people? That is what they ALL promise to get elected and the first thing they forget after they get in office.

  3. Seems sad we’ve now and forever in the future have to protect ourselves from our own Gov. Remember, there are publicly funded organizations who do nothing but daily think up things and ways to strip us of our God given freedoms.

  4. I understand both sides of this. Protecting our environment is crucial for future generations. I am also a die hard gear head and I don’t drive a single vehicle that’s not modified in some way. The epas requirements get more strict every year. But the racing community is such a small percentage of emissions compared to everything else that I don’t think it will be worth their time to try and enforce such restrictions. There is now construction equipment (off road vehicles) that have to meet tier 4 emissions standards. Which basically means the engine is a giant air filter and the air is cleaner coming out than going in…or so they say. So it was only a matter of time before the epa came after the racing community. And they will continue to do so going forward. But like drugs and alcohol we will do what we want no matter what the law says so keep modifying your cars and enjoying the race track!

  5. Cleaner running engine technology is ultimately born from innovation and technological advancement in the automotive industry. The VAST majority of this research comes from the racing side of the industry. There are so many benefits here because racing, by its very nature, is its own incentive. By expanding this to the general public, you are essentially both crowd funding a much larger R&D effort and crowd-sourcing a much larger knowledge pool. Some of the greatest advancements have come from under a shade tree. A rule such as this one will ultimately have the exact opposite effect on climate and will only serve to cripple research efforts into more efficient (read:cleaner) engine technology. Not to mention advancements in other areas as well such like safety and handling. Eliminating the backyard modifiers and racers is a shot through the heart of the great American passion for automobiles. Kill our community, and you kill the spirit of the automotive industry itself.

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