WASHINGTON -- An EPA proposal to slash greenhouse gas emissions by medium and heavy duty vehicles would also ban the conversion of street cars into racecars, with far-reaching effects on auto racing and the aftermarket parts industry.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association, a trade group representing automotive aftermarket companies, said in a statement late Monday that the EPA’s proposal would also make the sale of certain emissions-related parts used on racecars that were originally street cars illegal.
SEMA says it and other affected stakeholders will work to oppose the EPA’s proposed ban.
"This proposed regulation represents overreaching by the agency, runs contrary to the law and defies decades of racing activity where EPA has acknowledged and allowed conversion of vehicles," SEMA CEO Chris Kersting said in a statement. "Congress did not intend the original Clean Air Act to extend to vehicles modified for racing and has re-enforced that intent on more than one occasion."
Historically, cars used exclusively for racing have not been held to the same emissions standards as road-going cars, even racecars that were converted from models sold in dealerships.
Catalytic converters and other emissions equipment are often removed from road cars that are converted for auto racing competitions.
The EPA’s proposal would thwart those modifications by prohibiting the removal or tampering with emissions equipment on passenger cars, even if they are intended to convert a road car purely for racing. Those who make such modifications would be subject to penalties under the proposal.
“The EPA has never implemented a policy making it illegal for certified vehicles to become competition-use only vehicles,” Stephen McDonald, vice president of government affairs for SEMA, said in a Dec. 28 statement on the proposal. “Such a policy would overturn decades of understanding within the regulated community and expose that community to unfair findings of noncompliance and civil penalties.”
The ban is included in a single paragraph of the agency’s 629-page proposal to set 2021-2027 medium- and heavy-vehicle greenhouse gas targets. It was published in the Federal Register in July.
SEMA says the ban on road-to-racecar conversions is outside the scope of the EPA’s heavy truck proposal. The group also says that the agency failed to adequately notify the public of the proposal.
The EPA is expected to issue its final rule for the big truck standards in July. A spokeswoman for the agency was unavailable for immediate comment late Monday.