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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Who would object? Millions of owners of high-performance engines and older cars who fear corrosion and other nasty side effects. Ethanol attracts water. In turn, the resulting condensation can corrode the fuel lines, fixtures, and tank components (steel, rubber, aluminum, etc). We're talking rust, clogging, and deterioration. For modern cars, the oxygen atom in the ethanol molecule may confuse the exhaust sensor when measuring the fuel/air mixture going into the cylinders. The mixture may be too lean, producing a hot exhaust capable of damaging the catalytic converter. The end result may also be more nitrogen oxides, a building block for smog.

Many newer engines and parts have been designed to be more compatible with alcohol fuels, and E-15 will not be an issue. But E-10 has been a problem for some current and older models, and E-15 may be worse. Many in the auto industry have cautioned the EPA to do more science before it rules on the request.

Why does it matter? The fact is gasoline without ethanol may eventually become scarce or non-existent when you pull up to the pump. We also face an education curve. For many people who already ignore the "contains 10% ethanol" sign will not understand that 15% may cost them a pretty penny in repair bills.

A Quick Guide to Paint Regulations
Cave men were the first to use paint. It was a big hit then and it still is. However, paint is now heavily regulated to address various environmental concerns. The following is a quick overview of various federal and state rules that may impact how you paint your ride.

There are two main issues with respect to regulatory oversight: volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

VOCs include both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds that are released into the atmosphere as a gas. They are found in oil-based paints, adhesives and cleaning supplies and may trigger respiratory irritation, headaches, or other health concerns. VOCs also react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form smog. Both federal and state regulators have imposed limits on VOC emissions, primarily at the manufacturer level. A number of products, from paint to engine degreasers and windshield washer fluids, have been reformulated to reduce their VOC levels. Additionally, there has been an effort to switch the public from oil-based paints and cleaning solvents (enamel, lacquer, mineral spirits, etc.) to water-based paints like latex. The paint industry has expanded the range of water-based finishes that are available to assist in the conversion. Sometimes it is not a voluntary switch. A number of states or urban areas have banned retail sales of certain oil-based products in an effort to combat smog.

Aerosol can spray paints are frequently used for smaller jobs and touch-up painting. They rely on VOC-emitting propellants, gasses used to which expand and force out the paint when the valve is opened. The propellants have changed over the years. Chlorofluorocarbons were banned in 1978 since they deplete the upper ozone layer. Butane and propane were then widely used until they were identified as significant smog contributors. The paint industry has more recently relied on a variety of hydrofluorocarbons to serve as propellants. To address VOCs in aerosol paints, both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California have limited the amount of propellants that can be used in spray paint. As with paints purchased in cans, the issue is largely being addressed at the manufacturer level through product reformulation.