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EPA Removes Key Track-Car Language in Emissions Law

SEMA still pushing for permanent protections.

Eric Weiner
Apr 18, 2016

Amid an outcry from racers, track-day enthusiasts, SEMA, and Republican legislators, the EPA will remove language in its greenhouse gas emissions law that would have made it illegal to turn street cars into dedicated track cars.

Specifically, deep inside the law titled "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles Phase 2" was the provision that "Certified motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines and their emission control devices must remain in their certified configuration even if they are used solely for competition or if they become nonroad vehicles or engines."

In a statement clarifying the removal of this language, the EPA now says it "supports motorsports and its contributions to the American economy and communities all across the country."

2016 Mazda Global MX 5 Cup Racing Car front three quarter 02 660x438 Photo 2/2   |   2016-Mazda-Global-MX-5-Cup-Racing-Car-front-three-quarter-02

Although dedicated track cars are no longer in danger, the EPA was clear that it is still committed to stopping modifications to street cars that would deactivate emissions controls. That means the agency is focusing on aftermarket companies that manufacture and sell offendingparts, as much as the cars that use them.

The EPA previously said it "remains primarily concerned with cases where the tampered vehicle is used on public roads, and more specifically with aftermarket manufacturers who sell devices that defeat emission control systems on vehicles used on public roads."

SEMA is clearly chalking up this development as a win, but it contends there still is a need for more concrete legislation delineating the boundaries of the Clean Air Act. The proposed Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (cleverly dubbed the RPM Act) would do just this, most notably in that it would make it explicitly legal to sell parts for modifying street cars into track cars.

Check back for more updates as this story develops.

By Eric Weiner
18 Articles

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