EPA Emissions Proposal Spews Opposition and ConfusionFebruary 12th, 2016 by David Beran
The EPA recently proposed rules relating to the clean air act that could deeply impact the off-road racing and aftermarket parts industries. As part of its document titled “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2,” the agency is also addressing car-to-race-car modifications as they relate to emissions.
Through SEMA and in the off-road industry, opposition to a new proposal is gaining speed. Specifically, the EPA is proposing to make it illegal to modify a roadgoing car for racing. Interpreted one way, this could imperil competitions like the Smittybilt Every Man Challenge, Jeepspeed races and the Norra Mexican 1000 Rally. Citing the clean air act, the regulations could also prohibit selling aftermarket parts that alter emission control devices.
SEMA’s White House petition opposing the proposed changes was an overwhelming success, garnering over 135,000 signatures in just five days. Additionally, a change.org petition aimed at the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and President has over 43,000 supporters.
However, confusion over the verbiage used by the EPA and what it really means is spewing forth.
During his February 18, 2014 speech in Maryland, President Obama stated the EPA’s “goal is to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will take us well into the next decade, just like our cars.” Now that Phase 2 is addressing heavy duty trucks, members of the off-road community are asking the EPA to clarify their position. It could be argued that the EPA’s focus is on prohibiting tampered vehicles from using public roads and targeting manufacturers selling devices designed to defeat emission control systems on vehicles driven on public roads.
Or it could be interpreted that car to racecar modifications are already illegal, although violations have never been enforced. The distinction between modified racing vehicles and competition vehicles is unclear and has the off-road racing community up in arms. Enthusiasts who began with bone stock Jeeps and tinkered with motors to make their vehicles race worthy are at loggerheads over the threat to their passion. Manufacturers of aftermarket parts are also disputing the EPA’s blurry guidelines.
“In order for motorsports to survive it needs to take steps to be more environmentally responsible, like NASCAR has done by running ethanol and fuel injection,” says off-road enthusiast Chuck Prescott. “With today’s technology, this goal is achievable without compromising motorsports enjoyment. The Federal government needs to be clearer about the steps it wants motorsports to take.”
Visit this SEMA link to voice your opposition:
Visit this change.org link to sign their petition:
About the Author: David Beran
As a professional inkspiller living in Los Angeles, I’ve written in industries ranging from entertainment to employment to automotive. Terrain I cover includes off-road events and races, budget builds, custom mods, EVs and the latest innovations in aftermarket 4x4 parts. I’m always eager to learn about new trends in 4x4s and my motto is “go off-road or go home.” Google+ is the destination for my dispatches: https://plus.google.com/+DavidBeran/posts.