Those of you who never intended your race car to adhere to street-car emissions regulations have a new cause to rally behind. The Specialty Equipment Market Association, better known as the aftermarket barons SEMA, say a U.S. House of Representatives bill has been proposed to keep conversions of road cars into race cars legal without running afoul of the Clean Air Act.

Read the link up top for the full backstory, but last year the Environmental Protection Agency asserted it has always had the ability to regulate emissions on track-only, non-street legal vehicles, something SEMA brought to the world’s attention in February.

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SEMA, of course, has a very keen interest in making sure that converted street cars remain legally permissible, as they represent most of the aftermarket parts industry.

The EPA is much more likely to go after the companies that make non-street-legal parts for competition use instead of seizing your questionably swapped, smoke-belching crapcan racer directly.

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But H.R. 4175, dubbed the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (or RPM Act for short), seeks to ensure that road cars modified for competition use and competition use only will remain legal, despite the EPA’s efforts to clarify the wording of the Clean Air Act. SEMA explains:

The Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 (RPM Act):

  • Confirms that it has always been Congress’ intent that racecars are not included in the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) definition of “motor vehicle.”
  • Makes clear that it has always been legal to modify a street vehicle into a racecar used exclusively at the track.
  • Confirms that modifying these vehicles for exclusive track use would not be considered tampering.

Previously, it has always been assumed that off-road, competition vehicles were exempt from Clean Air Act standards, even if said competition vehicle started its life as a road car.

Per SEMA, United States Representatives Patrick McHenry (R-NC), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Bill Posey (R-FL) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) introduced the RPM Act, but now it’s up to Congress to pass it into law. (Finally, something Republicans and Democrats can seemingly agree on: race cars.)

From here, it goes to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. So, while your race car isn’t out of the EPA’s crosshairs yet, this RPM Act is a promising development.

Now would be the time to write your congressperson to approve the RPM Act, or to keep the comments coming on the EPA’s proposal as well. It can’t hurt.


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.