WASHINGTON — For the fourth time in five years, members of the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced legislation to clarify emission standards for vehicles converted into race cars.
U.S. Reps. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., recently introduced H.R. 3281, the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 (RPM Act). The bipartisan bill includes 48 sponsors.
The initial bill, the RPM Act 2016, came in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) issuing new Clean Air Act regulations that would have made street vehicle conversions illegal. That year, more than 200,000 people wrote Congress in support of the RPM Act, and nearly one-fourth of all House members signed on as co-sponsors, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
While the EPA withdrew the problematic language in 2016, automotive service organizations argue clarifying language still needs to be added, which the RPM Act will do, SEMA said.
The RPM Act reverses the EPA's interpretation that the Clean Air Act that prohibits a motor vehicle designed for street use — including a car, truck or motorcycle — to be converted into a dedicated race vehicle. The EPA took the position that converted vehicles must remain emissions-compliant, even though they no longer are driven on public streets or highways, SEMA said.
"SEMA looks forward to working with Congress to enact the RPM Act and make permanent the Clean Air Act's original intention that race vehicle conversions are legal," SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting said.
"We thank Representatives McHenry and Ruiz for standing up for racing and the motorsports parts industry by introducing a bipartisan bill to protect racing and the businesses that produce, install, and sell the parts that enable racers to compete."
SEMA said already this year more than 1.1 million letters asking Congress to pass the legislation have been sent out.
"I am proud to support automobile racing and will work to ensure motorsports enthusiasts here in North Carolina and across the country can continue the time-honored tradition of modifying stock vehicles for competitive racing," Mr. McHenry.
"I look forward to working with my colleagues to help ensure the RPM Act becomes law."