You might have heard the words “EPA” and “ban” in the same sentence a lot the past few weeks. They are looking to implement a massive ban on racecars across America that could affect a ton of people. We did a little digging and we’re here to tell you all about the EPA racecar ban and what it means for you.
What Is the EPA?
Before getting into the ban, backlash, and actionable ways to help, we need some definitions. This way, you can understand the scope of things and won’t miss out on this huge ban.
First off, you should understand what the EPA is. EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. They’re a US-based agency that has about the same strength as the CDC, FDA, or other agencies like that.
The sole purpose of the EPA is to keep our environment safe. Recently, most of their efforts revolve around climate change and minimizing our carbon footprint. They are the leading force in the recent Green New Deal, and they were the governing force back in 2015 for the Clean Care Act (CAA).
We should plainly state that we don’t oppose the EPA. What they do is great and they’re helping the environment a lot. We’re just opposed to their interpretation of an otherwise-helpful bill, the CAA. More on that later, now let’s define the party in the other corner, SEMA.
What Is SEMA?
SEMA stands for Specialty Equipment Market Association. They make up the $46 billion aftermarket parts market. It includes specialty automotive manufacturing, distribution, and selling. Their parts improve the technology, comfort, convenience, appearance, and performance of your ride.
On top of that, they’re also the frontrunner for training, R&D, and support of the aftermarket community. In short, if you buy or are interested in aftermarket upgrades for your car, SEMA is here to help.
They have a massive tradeshow that occurs every year in September in Las Vegas. In fact, their tradeshow is one of the biggest shows to occur annually in Vegas. If you like cars, you’ll love this show.
Information About the EPA Race Car Ban
In recent weeks, the EPA has become more serious with their race car ban. This is something that first came into conversation about five years ago, but we’re starting to see a more immediate response.
The idea is that the EPA wants to completely ban the creation of race cars. Why? It all comes down to their emissions.
The EPA is using a bill passed in Obama’s time called the Clean Air Act. The Act itself is really noble. It recognized global warming and set some legal channels in place to cut down on everyone’s emissions. Part of that was stricter emissions control for different car manufacturers.
The big problem is that this Act is a bit ambiguous. The language used in the Act has led people to believe that racecars will be on the chopping block soon. Since the Clean Air Act passed in 2015, the EPA hasn’t solidified their stance when it comes to race cars, but they decided that recently they would.
The ban claims that any converted streetcar that performs on a track needs to pass the same emissions tests that standard cars need to. Furthermore, the process and equipment used to transform a streetcar into a racecar will be banned.
Essentially, turning a regular car into a racecar will be illegal if the EPA chooses to stick with their stance. This is already the unofficial rule according to the ambiguity in the Clean Air Act’s verbiage. The good news is that SEMA is here to help us racers.
What SEMA Is Doing to Help Us
Obviously, SEMA has a huge stake in this fight. If this ban comes to fruition, then the $46 billion network that SEMA helped build will crumble around them. For that reason, SEMA has joined the fight and they’re looking to go against what the EPA is trying to do.
SEMA’s stance is that the Clean Air Act simply doesn’t apply to converted cars. If the car’s purpose is to only be used on the track, then SEMA argues that the CAA shouldn’t be held for these cars.
The clever part is that SEMA is using the language from the CAA, EPA, and historical legislation in their own fight. The EPA previously said that competition-only vehicles don’t have to meet the guidelines set in place by the EPA.
The SEMA successfully blocked the EPA’s attempt back in 2015. As the conversation starts again, SEMA is rolling out the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act).
More About the RPM Act
The RPM Act makes the language a little clearer in the Clean Air Act. After all, that’s the initial piece of legislation that the EPA is basing their entire ban around.
This Act will add verbiage that specifically states that racecars are not in direct violation of the Clean Air Act. The RPM Act will put in writing that making changes to a standard car in order to repurpose it to a racecar is legal and doesn’t have to withhold the EPA’s guidelines for streetcars.
The Act was first co-signed by Republican Senator Richard Burr (NC) and Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (VA). The bi-partisan nature of this Act will hopefully give it more traction moving forward.
How the EPA Race Car Ban Affects Us
So now let’s answer the question at hand: how does this EPA racecar ban affect us? That all depends on how far the EPA will take it. In the current conversations, it sounds like the EPA will take the interpretation of the Clean Air Act pretty far.
This could mean a complete ban of aftermarket enhancements. Tuning and modifying your car will be outlawed and there will be undefined legal punishments for attempting to mod your car.
If the EPA wants to take a firm stance on this Act, even a simple body mod could be illegal under the Act. At a minimum, performance-enhancing modifications will be outlawed.
They can determine a list of parts that are on a ban list. Most of the parts will probably share a common thread – being used on racecars and modded streetcars alike. However, there won’t be a gray area that you can hide in. In other words, if you use a banned part to soup up your streetcar, it will still be an illegal upgrade.
What Can We Do About It?
If you’re anything like us, the idea of a governmental ban on modifying your cars (harmlessly, no less) is very frustrating. We like the idea of being able to upgrade, customize, and have fun with our cars. The first thing we did was research what could be done to stop the EPA and support SEMA.
We didn’t have to dig too deep – SEMA already has it covered for us. They put together a sheet that explains the problem and tells us how to help. They have a pre-built action center that allows you to send a templated message to your local Senators and Representatives.
If you want to keep the beautiful roar alive on racetracks across America, follow the above links and do your part (for free).
Hopefully, now you understand the scope of the EPA race car ban. We just covered what it is, what the goal of the ban is, what SEMA is doing to stop it, and how you can help. At the end of the day, we need to band together to protect our ability to upgrade, mod, and enhance our vehicles.
For more car news, how-to’s, and information, make sure you check out the rest of our blog. Make sure you see what accessories, tools, and care products you need for your car.