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SEMA Is Pushing a New RPM Act in Congress

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Streetbike to race-only conversions may be on the chopping block if the EPA gets its way, according to SEMA.
Streetbike to race-only conversions may be on the chopping block if the EPA gets its way, according to SEMA. (Andrew Trevitt/)

The motorsports industry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are at it again, and this time the result could have consequences for more than just a small percentage of enthusiasts. In fact, according to aftermarket trade association SEMA, it poses an existential crisis for much of the performance aftermarket industry.

Like all nasty brawls, this one has been festering for a while; back in 2015, the EPA had proposed extending emissions standards to include dedicated off-road vehicles as well as race machines (including street vehicles converted for use on the strip), and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)—the trade association for aftermarket equipment manufacturers—lashed out, saying the agency’s actions were a gross misinterpretation the Clean Air Act (CAA) that would legislate a sizable chunk of the motorsports aftermarket out of existence.

Because of massive public outcry, the EPA ended up pulling that controversial proposal, though recent court cases show the agency is again cracking down on makers of aftermarket performance parts that mess with vehicle emissions. Diesel truck tuner Gear Box Z is currently on the hot seat, with the EPA alleging that GBZ is selling equipment that enables road-legal diesel trucks to run without their emissions systems. SEMA has joined that court battle by filing an amicus brief in support of GBZ, disputing the EPA’s authorization to enforce anti-tampering of certified motor vehicles. In the latest development, the US District Court has declined to rule in the case, citing a lack of evidence produced by the EPA. SEMA is touting the non-ruling as a win, though the crux of the matter remains unresolved.

The reintroduced RPM Act looks to protect emissions modifications made to street vehicles that are then used for racing.
The reintroduced RPM Act looks to protect emissions modifications made to street vehicles that are then used for racing. (Andrea Wilson/)

As a result, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act—originally introduced on the heels of that 2015 dustup—has been resubmitted in the current Congress, this time with bipartisan support. And, yes, SEMA is again throwing its weight behind it, issuing a press release to warn us that the EPA intends to step up enforcement of “illegal high-performance parts”—stuff like superchargers, tuners, and exhaust systems.

That makes this latest skirmish broader in scope, since powersports enthusiasts of all types—four wheel and two—will often use some kind of emission-defeating device on their ordinary road-going vehicles. After all, which one of us hasn’t swapped out our old, emissions-compliant exhaust for a tricker, more free-breathing alternative?

The RPM bill as now written, says SEMA, is designed to amend and clarify a portion of the CAA, and specifically outlines that it’s legal to make emissions changes to certain street vehicles, especially ones used “exclusively in competition.”

RELATED: Motorcycle Emission Standards | Ask the Geek

The SEMA press release goes on to say, “Motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional. Most of the vehicles raced on the estimated 1,300 racetracks operating across the US are converted vehicles that the EPA considers to be illegal. The RPM Act is common-sense legislation to protect Americans’ right to convert street vehicles (cars, trucks, and motorcycles)…and the motorsports-parts industry’s ability to sell products that enable racers to compete. The bill clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a race car used exclusively in competition. Converting street vehicles into dedicated racers is an American tradition dating back decades and has negligible environmental impact.”

SEMA also claims the “RPM Act does not interfere with the EPA’s authority to enforce against individuals who illegally install race parts on vehicles driven on public roads. Tampering with the emissions system of a motor vehicle used on public roads is a clear violation of the Clean Air Act.”

Read SEMA’s full press release about the RPM Act here.

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Oh yes another photographic disaster!

Either that or that poor little Kawasaki is being crushed.

Maybe not relevant to us yet but you never know.



31 minutes ago, Six30 said:

you seen the photos @Ian Frog :roll:


4 minutes ago, fullscreenaging said:

Only in the USA


Can the site’s bots be taught to overlook articles that are not relevant to us over here? 😂


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