WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Senators Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have reintroduced the RPM Act, legislation that is designed to protect Americans' right to convert street vehicles into dedicated racecars and the motorsports parts industry's right to sell products that enable racers to compete.
Originally introduced in 2016, the bipartisan legislation — Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act — is poised to become law in the 2019-20 Congress after clearing several major legislative hurdles in the previous Congress, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which has championed the bill from the outset.
The automotive aftermarket banded together then in response to language in the Phase 2 "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines" from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that SEMA and others said they believed would prohibit the conversion of on-road vehicles into race cars.
The Phase 2 standards, published in July 2015, also would forbid the sale of certain products for use on converted on-road vehicles, SEMA said.
"The EPA's new interpretation of the Clean Air Act would essentially rewrite the law and 46 years of policy and practice," SEMA President and CEO.Chris Kersting said at that time.
According to SEMA, motorsports competition involves tens of thousands of participants and vehicle owners each year, both amateur and professional, resulting in nearly $2 billion worth of retail sales of racing products.
SEMA estimates there are roughly 1,300 race tracks in the U.S. encompassing oval, road, dirt and off-road events that feature converted race vehicles that the EPA now considers to be illegal.
"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," Mr. Kersting said, recognizing Messrs. Burr and Manchin for their efforts to reintroduce the bill.
"American racing runs on traditions," Mr. Burr said. "For more than 50 years, motorsports enthusiasts have purchased cars and modified them to race, off of public roads.
"However, this tradition was threatened when the Obama EPA attempted to make these modifications illegal. This legislation upholds Congress' intent of the Clean Air Act and protects motorsports, for professionals and amateurs alike, for years to come."
SEMA is urging its members to contact their legislators and let them know about the importance of passing the RPM Act into law during this session of Congress. It has information on that process on its website.