Securing The Future Of Hot Rods - Hot Rodding Into The Future

The Changing Political Landscape & The Need For Enthusiast Involvement

Sema Action Network Nov 12, 2010 0 Comment(s)
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At this point, SEMA took a proactive role in working directly with the CARB to create a method by which emissions-related specialty aftermarket parts could be brought into compliance. While the EPA had its own anti-tampering provisions contained in the federal law affecting aftermarket parts, the CARB had taken a more aggressive position in regulating these components. Working directly with CARB staff, SEMA helped establish an emissions testing program whereby emissions-critical parts could be made legal for on-road use in California. Ultimately, EPA would recognize this certification for use elsewhere in the country. At the time, as now, the so-called CARB "Executive Order" (E.O.) certification process that was created embodied test procedures required of the OEMs when certifying new vehicles. Today, SEMA continues working with both the CARB and EPA to help enable its membership to achieve emissions compliance for specialty aftermarket parts, all of which has a direct impact on several segments in the performance enthusiast community.

There have also been concerns for owners of specially-built or kit car enthusiasts, pertaining to various titling issues and other state-based challenges in numerous locations across the country. Particularly in California where a significant number of specially-built vehicles (SCVs) were identified by regulators as either improperly or illegally registered (approximately five years ago), a major threat to the street rod industry appeared. Because such violations were considered a felony offense, car owners were targeted for arrests and the probability of confiscated vehicles. It has required a major effort on the part of SEMA, working in conjunction with the California Attorney's Office, CARB, Bureau of Automotive Repair, Department of Motor Vehicles, and state legislators to craft a solution to this critical issue. Whereas five years ago there was no clear path to obtaining legal registration and emissions-compliance for these vehicles, today there is a means by which it can be done. Concurrently, SEMA has continued working with states outside California to configure laws and regulations to enable legal registration of street rods and custom cars (including kit cars and replicas). The SEMA model legislation, enacted in 20 states to date, also provides for special license plates for these vehicles. The bill defines a street rod as an altered vehicle manufactured before 1949 and a custom as an altered vehicle at least 25 years old and manufactured after 1948. The bill allows kit cars and replica vehicles to be assigned a certificate of title bearing the same model year designation that the body of the vehicle was constructed to resemble.

Most recently, there have been concerns about the regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and how performance parts relate to so-called greenhouse gases. After a review of data gathered during emissions compliance testing of specialty aftermarket products that successfully passed these tests, the levels of CO2 that exceeded baseline emissions were quite low. In fact, although increased air/fuel charge enrichment in and of itself can somewhat increase CO2, if combustion efficiency levels associated with improved fuel economy and acceptable emissions are maintained, little or no unfavorable impact has been observed. So it would appear that performance products, when designed and used in a way that enables fuel economy equal to or better than that obtained with stock components, create a negligible effect on CO2 output.

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