SEMA President Urges Congress to Protect American Motorsports

March 16, 2016

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 SEMA President Urges Congress to Protect American Motorsports

Calls for passage of bipartisan, bicameral bill which clarifies the Clean Air Act

Washington, DC (March 16, 2016) – SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting recently testified before a key Congressional committee, urging Congress to continue to allow street vehicles to be modified and converted for motorsports competition. Kersting joined President of National Speed Sports News Ralph Sheheen, and legislative experts at the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Oversight Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday (available to view here). The committee examined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule that would prohibit the conversion of emissions-certified vehicles into racecars.

“The EPA’s new interpretation of the law puts racing and the motorsports industry into jeopardy,” said Kersting. “SEMA is urging Congress to adopt a measure that would eliminate any uncertainty now and in the future about how the Clean Air Act is interpreted, and make it clear that the law allows emissions-certified street vehicles to be modified and converted for competition use.”  Click here to read Kersting’s full testimony.

The “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016” (RPM Act) clarifies the Clean Air Act to explain that it has always been legal to modify a street vehicle into a racecar used exclusively at the track. The bill also confirms that modifying these vehicles for exclusive track use would not be considered tampering. The bill was introduced in the House (H.R. 4715) and in the Senate (S.2659) last week.

In July 2015, the EPA issued a proposed rule that would make the act of converting a motor vehicle into a racecar illegal if the emission system is taken out-of-compliance from its stock configuration.  It would also make it illegal to sell any emissions-related parts for those cars. The EPA contends this is “tampering” and that a vehicle is forever a “motor vehicle” subject to the Clean Air Act.

Competition vehicles are not included in the Clean Air Act’s definition of “motor vehicle.” Further, the legislative history and 1990 Clean Air Act amendments covering off-road vehicles confirms Congressional intent not to regulate “vehicles used solely for competition.”  At the same time, the EPA already has authority to enforce against anyone who offers, sells or installs products that knowingly take a street vehicle out-of-compliance.

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About SEMA
SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $36 billion specialty automotive industry of 6,633 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market information for the specialty auto parts industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, tel: 909-610-2030, or visit

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