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Thursday, 24 June 2021 21:04

Momentum Building for RPM Act

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Fueled by a massive grassroots effort and bipartisan support among lawmakers, a bill critical to the future of racing is gaining momentum following its recent reintroduction in Congress.

The SEMA-/PRI-backed Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (RPM Act), which was introduced in the House by U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) on May 17, protects Americans’ right to convert street vehicles into dedicated race cars, as well as the motorsports parts industry’s ability to sell products that allow racers to compete.

 

In doing so, it reverses the position of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that prohibits street-car-to-race-car conversions, along with the sale of parts that take a street vehicle out of compliance with broad-based emissions standards, even if that vehicle is track-only.

 

While the EPA points to the 50-year-old Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) as the basis for its position, it was only in 2015 that officials began interpreting the law to include race car conversions.

 

That interpretation has sent a chill through the aftermarket, and it now has manufacturers, distributors and retail businesses that sell parts for converted race cars fearing recrimination from federal regulators. Even manufacturers that market parts for dedicated, purpose-built race cars are worried that if their products make it onto an outlaw street vehicle, they could be subject to prosecution.

 

What’s more, just last year, the EPA specifically said it was prioritizing “stopping aftermarket defeat devices for vehicles and engines” that override required emissions controls. Based on priorities of the current administration, enforcement actions are only expected to intensify.

 

“This is no way to treat a sector of the American economy that employs hundreds of thousands of people, generates billions of dollars in economic activity and serves the needs of countless enthusiasts throughout the nation,” said Daniel Ingber, SEMA/PRI vice president of government and legal affairs. “The RPM Act will provide the racing community with certainty and confidence in the face of an EPA interpretation of the Clean Air Act that threatens to devastate an American pastime and eliminate jobs in our communities. That is why Congress must pass the RPM Act---now!”

 

At press time, 69 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, from both sides of the aisle, had...


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