WASHINGTON (Feb. 16, 2016) — Alarm bells rang in the auto enthusiast community last week after a trade group warned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was threatening to ban the type of modified street cars that generations of amateur racers have taken to the track.
Relax, the EPA said. There's no new ban being proposed, as was suggested by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) when it called a supposed EPA proposal to prohibit the conversion of vehicles that were originally designed for on-road use into race cars “overreach.”
Fact is, such modifications have always been banned under the Clean Air Act.
So what is going on?
Call it a muddled exchange that nonetheless sheds light on one of the EPA's enforcement priorities in the context of Volkswagen A.G.'s diesel transgressions. In short, the EPA's concern is not about the emissions of race cars but about keeping all road-going cars free of modifications that would neuter their emissions controls.