Using SEMA’s Faster Track to Emissions Compliance

SEMA News—December 2016

Chris Kersting

Using SEMA’s Faster Track to Emissions Compliance

  Chris Kersting

Those of you who attended our SEMA Show seminar on emissions compliance were reminded that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have the combined authority to enforce anti-tampering regulations in all 50 states—and not just against manufacturers but industry resellers as well. For those who were not able to attend this annual briefing session, attendees had the opportunity to learn more about important new SEMA resources to help members stay in compliance with the law.

CARB and EPA have recently stepped up enforcement actions against noncompliant manufacturers and resellers, levying substantial fines. If your company has not done so already, now is the time to undertake regulatory compliance review and take steps to address potential noncompliance matters.

A first step is to know that most products that improve engine performance and efficiency are subject to the anti-tampering provisions of vehicle emissions-control laws. CARB oversees an emissions testing program by which parts manufacturers can certify compliance for their emissions–related products. If a manufacturer demonstrates that a performance part does not compromise a vehicle’s emissions performance, the part can be granted a CARB Executive Order (EO). The EO amounts to permission to legally market, sell and use the part in California. The CARB EO is also honored by the EPA and provides for legal sale and use of the part in 49 states.

As a practical matter, bottlenecks in the CARB EO testing and application process have discouraged some manufacturers from securing EOs. For example, industry members have struggled to get testing time at authorized emissions labs. SEMA recently addressed the issue by building the SEMA Garage Emissions Lab, offering members priority access to our CARB-approved test facility at low, SEMA-member rates. It’s important to note that SEMA members from around the country—not just California—can and do utilize the lab.

A related challenge for members has been understanding the regulations and contending with the testing and application process. SEMA is now delivering important resources to assist members in these areas as well.

First, SEMA recently worked with CARB to update and improve the testing procedure. For many products and vehicle models, CARB now allows a “Fast Track” process designed to make the EO process quicker and less costly. Additionally, SEMA now maintains a pool of “mule” test vehicles to spare members the time and expense to obtain and precondition certain popular new models.

Perhaps the most valuable asset at the SEMA Garage is a team of experienced industry experts to help members through the process—from learning about the law to conducting emissions testing and from helping with the EO application to advocating with CARB staff.

I’m pleased to report that since opening the Garage Emissions Lab this past year, the Fast Track system is working and we’ve been busy helping SEMA members—local, national and international—secure EOs, often in record time. We are also continuing our work with CARB to find further ways to streamline the process and ensure that there are adequate people resources to keep pace with the EO applications.

Our industry has a decades-long history of responding to challenges with incredible adaptability. We’re encouraged to see the same qualities are still very much in force today. In the case of emissions regulations, SEMA has untangled state and federal compliance requirements and can assist manufacturers as they develop marketable emissions-related products. Now it’s up to you to take advantage of this opportunity, reduce the risk of costly sanctions and give your company a solid footing for the future.

If you manufacture or resell products that add performance or impact air or fuel delivery, take an important step for your company and contact the SEMA Garage staff today. Simply call SEMA headquarters or go to to learn how your company can use these important new SEMA benefits.

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