The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act is moving through Congress, with the United States Senate and House of Representatives reintroducing it earlier this week. According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (better known as SEMA), the bipartisan RPM Act was introduced by North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr and is cosponsored by 14 senators.
The RPM Act provides specific protection to on-road vehicles that are converted for off-road use, ensuring the use of those vehicles does not violate the Clean Air Act. The way emissions law is currently written, removing emissions control devices from a vehicle is illegal, even if that vehicle is never used on public roads again.
The aftermarket industry took immediate issue with the law’s phrasing when it was revealed in 2016, claiming it would hinder competition and compromise safety (some emissions controls devices can create a fire risk under extreme circumstances when a vehicle’s engine is working hard). Furthermore, it could also make racing prohibitively expensive, limiting it to the well heeled.
The RPM Act was first introduced last year, drawing the support of nearly 200,000 Americans and 140 members of Congress. Congress’ schedule in 2016 was shortened due to the election, and the RPM Act wasn’t able to make the rounds quickly enough, so it was reintroduced last week to a similar reception.