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EPA Seeks to Ban Conversion of Street Cars to Race Cars in Proposed Rule

Posted in News on February 9, 2016
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UPDATE

SEMA has started an online petition to prevent the EPA from carrying out its intents. Sign the petition here.

As we’re all too aware as car and truck enthusiasts, the reach of Uncle Sam’s regulatory arm grows longer with each passing year and activities and hobbies that we once enjoyed carefree are now being closely watched by government regulators. According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the EPA is poised to make one of its most ambitious regulatory advances to date. At issue is the definition of road-going and competition vehicles and how they’re classified.

The EPA has long had an “off-road use only” exemption for race vehicles, and many aftermarket parts ostensibly fall under this category, although many parts and accessories not expressly approved for on-road use are used on road-going vehicles. We scanned through the summary of the proposal, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles; Phase 2, and picked out some key paragraphs that could potentially impact enthusiasts’ rights (in bold below). You can read the proposed regulations in their entirety at the link above.

“40 CFR part 1068 includes a definition of “engine” to clarify that an engine becomes subject to certification requirements when a crankshaft is installed in an engine block. At that point, a manufacturer may not ship the engine unless it is covered by a certificate of conformity or an exemption. Most manufacturers have opted into this definition of “engine” as part of the replacement engine exemption as specified in 40 CFR 85.1714. We are proposing to make this mandatory for all manufacturers. A related provision is the definition of “date of manufacture”, which we use to establish that an engine's model year is also based on the date of crankshaft installation. To address the concern that engine manufacturers would install a large number of crankshafts before new emission standards start to apply as a means of circumventing those standards, we state in 40 CFR 1068.103(f) that manufacturers must follow their normal production plans and schedules for building engines in anticipation of new emission standards. In addition to that broad principle, we state that we will consider engines to be subject to the standards for the new model year if engine assembly is not complete within 30 days after the end of the model year with the less stringent standards (a longer time frame applies for engines with per-cylinder displacement above 2.5 liters).

“The existing prohibitions and exemptions in 40 CFR part 1068 related to competition engines and vehicles need to be amended to account for differing policies for nonroad and motor vehicle applications. In particular, we generally consider nonroad engines and vehicles to be “used solely for competition” based on usage characteristics. This allows EPA to set up an administrative process to approve competition exemptions, and to create an exemption from the tampering prohibition for products that are modified for competition purposes. There is no comparable allowance for motor vehicles. A motor vehicle qualifies for a competition exclusion based on the physical characteristics of the vehicle, not on its use. Also, if a motor vehicle is covered by a certificate of conformity at any point, there is no exemption from the tampering and defeat-device prohibitions that would allow for converting the engine or vehicle for competition use. There is no prohibition against actual use of certified motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines for competition purposes; however, it is not permissible to remove a motor vehicle or motor vehicle engine from its certified configuration regardless of the purpose for doing so.”

Source: EPA

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