By on February 13, 2016

Motor Trend New SEMA/EPA Editorial

It seems Jalopnik got to this before us.

It appears Motor Trend‘s Scott Evans had a long, awkward meeting with his editors and those who control Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) member pursestrings about what constitutes fair coverage regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule clarifications.

From Motor Trend:

The EPA is not coming for your racecar. The EPA is coming for the aftermarket companies that make parts to turn your street car into a racecar.

Which is, you know, kind of the same thing, at least in the eyes of SEMA.

According to Evans, the EPA wants to clarify Clean Air Act rules on selling aftermarket emissions-beating equipment because sometimes those solutions make it to cars driven on public roads. In effect, the EPA wants to kill that industry so you don’t drive your COBB-tuned Fiesta to Kroger, says Evans. The equivalent of that would be the United States cracking down on Clorox bleach products for those few times when people spray it in the eyes of others.

However, I will give credit where credit is due. Evans does take a more sober approach in this piece than the last one, where he basically goes off the rails and does a hot take editorial with SEMA as its target.

And SEMA probably had every right to squeeze Motor Trend a little if interpretations from other outlets are correct. (We’ll have more on that later.) After all, SEMA is looking out for the health and survival of its members, some of whom may feel the sting from these EPA clarifications more than others.

Yet, it’s still on Motor Trend to offer an official retraction of the original piece, and a corresponding explanation of that retraction, for its readers and SEMA members.

After all, in the digital age, nothing goes away.

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113 Comments on “SEMA Gives Motor Trend Titty Twister, Evans Cries Uncle...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    SEMA tells Motortrend to step outside!

    Luckily we all know there is *zero* chance that this kind of pressure to influence the tone of articles could ever be used for vehicle reviews.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    As always is the case, you could look at this in two ways. The reality is that the emission impact of cars modified this way rounds to essentially zero. Out of tune and poorly maintained cars are far more of a problem. Conversely, when I see a brain dead individual rolling coal I’d like a to be able to point their body to the nearest wood chipper. If the real goal is keeping overall emissions in check a mandatory inspection for emissions starting at the five or six year mark would do far more than slapping tuners hands.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      rolling coal is already illegal in most/every state (as far as I know.) in Michigan it’s traffic offense code 3400 which covers all “defective equipment” citations. It’s basically a “fix it” ticket which can get waived if you come back to the police station and show you’ve corrected the condition. Since police are mostly used to collect revenue these days I’d guess they don’t want to have them spend time writing tickets which can just get canceled.

    • 0 avatar
      DrSandman

      Yes, @golden2husky, it that were the goal, what you propose would be the solution. It is not the goal, however.

      See, our moral superiors are not “banning” HiPo parts, they are just regulating the means to achieve non-approved performance. They aren’t “banning” guns, but they are making it impossible to buy ammunition (Have you seen .22LR on any store shelf in 2 years?) They aren’t “banning” coal mining, but they are making it illegal to sell coal on the market. They aren’t “banning” free speech, but they are making it illegal to say anything that offends protected “minority” groups. They aren’t “banning” freedom of religion, but boy, you better bake a wedding cake in the shape of two sausages crossing if someone asks you. They aren’t “banning” fracking, but they are making it impossible to move the product via pipeline.

      Our moral superiors do this divide-n-conquer to keep us in perpetual internecine warfare, while they go on and profit from rent-seeking and cronyism.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        ” They aren’t “banning” guns, but they are making it impossible to buy ammunition (Have you seen .22LR on any store shelf in 2 years?) ”

        “They” are doing no such thing. Idiot hoarders are still gobbling that stuff up for some moronic reason. I went to a gun & knife show last weekend and dealers had plenty on hand.

        • 0 avatar
          DrSandman

          @JimZ, EPA crafted new regulations that closed the lead smelters needed to make new bullets. We are still production constrained.

          The EPA’s goal is to make illegal anything that is not approved by our moral superiors who ride around in the armor-plated SUVs that clog our local DC beltway for every minor deputy undersecretary of bedwetting.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            Doc, if EPA, and other government agencies are the cause, it’s that they’re inducing people to buy guns and learn how to shoot. All types of .22 ammunition is in greater demand than ever before, since that’s what novices can handle. The demand has dramatically increased, and the makers are running flat out, still unable to catch up.

            The .22LR ammo is rimfire, using a casing made with a dicey manufacturing process, and there’s been a reluctance to invest in very expensive new factories to produce it.

            Bottom line, our government has made owning guns and learning to shoot them very popular. That popularity is the real reason for shortages, not lead smelters or other EPA restrictions.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lorenzo, funny you should mention ” they’re inducing people to buy guns and learn how to shoot.”

            Because that is exactly what is happening.

            A friend of mine invited me to help him do his traveling gun shows and I helped him with three since Feb 2.

            Just got back home from doing the gun show in Albuquerque.

            Although he does not pay me for my time, it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to sell off some of my own guns, ammo, brass, reloads and gear — 11 hand guns and 6 rifles to date over three different shows.

            The money is real good. Real good!

  • avatar
    LukeColorado

    Is it *really* that big of an emissions problem? What percentage of automobiles in the USA have “tunes”, straight pipes, etc? Perhaps the EPA should spend its resources hunting for the next Porter Ranch.

    And what’s the position of tuners? “The EPA should let us sell illegal parts…because our customers DEMAND 3 more HP from their Focuses!”

    On the other hand, maybe this country needs an MOT type inspection system. I see lots of dangerous looking cars on the road — missing lugs, sagging suspension, misaligned headlights. This could be an opportunity to ensure that all cars have are in compliance with EPA regs.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Well, props to motor trend. Despite needing to correct the original they have now produced the most comprehensive mainstream coverage of this issue. Hats off.

    Follow ups: Have any of the big tuners been in contact with epa employees regarding the clarification of these rules? Namely the few tuners big enough to sticker everything they sell. That’s a follow the money question.

    Concerns: We’re in the second term of a president who is in favor of expanding enforcement regulation of the auto industry. This represents the epa’s only good chance to initiate these reforms and they will not back down without political blood being spilled. Even in a case where another sympathetic president is elected this goes away again, because no one in their right mind wants to first term a controversy like this, where there is massive aggravation and little to no pragmatic upside. Our response is incredibly important.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “a controversy like this, where there is massive aggravation”

      You jest, no?

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Haha, indeed. Tensions are high enough, it affects enough consumers, and thousands of jobs (per state) are on the line. If we don’t get this to the point where candidates are being asked relevant questions on camera we have failed. We win if it goes to election coverage, mostly because of the massive jobs angle (also the President will not be inclined to piss on his own party candidates by shoving this into the big-circus news coverage).

        I personally know many people who are guaranteed to be unemployed even by the specter of this rule change. That entire industry will become toxic to lenders overnight, which matters more than most of the other repercussions discussed.

    • 0 avatar
      LukeColorado

      “Even in a case where another sympathetic president is elected this goes away again, because no one in their right mind wants to first term a controversy like this…”

      I think you’re living in a bubble if you think a substantial number of Americans GAF one way or the other.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Luke
        I agree that not many voters do. Politicians running for office otoh will see any new policy that costs jobs as welcome campaign fodder, especially if they need a distraction from another issue or a gaffe.

        Election years give interest groups more sway as well.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    The current flap is largely over a recent EPA order shutting down a number of coal-fired power plants, mostly on the Ohio river. A recent Supreme Court ruling delays its implementation.

    To me, the CO2 emissions issue in the US is silly as long as countries like China and even Germany are not brought into the picture. All of the CO2 emissions from all of the motor vehicles in the US are only a tiny percentage of the global total from all sources, including power plants.

    It is a plant-wide problem. It needs a plant-wide solution – assuming it needs a ‘solution’ at all.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      You kind of left out that the SCOTUS reach down neutered the Paris accords chances of reducing carbon emissions in China and … “even Germany”(??). (Maybe you meant India?) Don’t follow that money, it’s depressing.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      jimbob457,
      I do believe your comment is targeting the correct issues.

      Many resources are wasted by directing these resources at minority interest groups, whether it be manufacturers, UAW, energy, farmers, etc.

      Like I have mentioned the taxpayers money and the additional money spent by consumers to consume from protected industry is not in the interest of any nation.

      The US for example could of develop a comprehensive gas network to remove the use of hot water systems, stoves/ovens and central heating that require electricity. These are huge consumers of energy, both domestically and in industry (all).

      I do believe in emission controls, but the complexity of these controls makes it difficult to manage. An example is those guys rolling coal. You have a group of people (police) monitoring and patrolling issues that are not really a policing matter. Just the simple issue of resolving rolling coal you must contend with differinf ideologies within the police force. How many cops disbelieve in Climate change?

      The whole issue of emissions and pollution must be tackled from a different perspective. This will be hard as organisations like the EPA become more powerful and institutionalised.

      Do you think the EPA would ever change it’s structure to accommodate a more logical way in doing business?

      SEMA as a representative of a minority group will not have much sway. The auto manufacturers, alongside others’ (UAW) will be able to apply more pressure to the EPA to seek outcomes that will suit them.

      Look at the Chicken Tax. Set up by the UAW with manufacturer (Big 3) assistance.

      Many on TTAC love to put me down regarding big business, big government, etc that impact the every day lives of the consumer.

      You the American people only have yourselves to blame.

      There are millions of car enthusiasts in the US. How hard would it be to organise them as one?

      This is what is needed. Most will not put the effort into change they view as necessary. Why? Because like most everything in life, leave it up to someone else, let them put the hard yards in.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @BigAl-

        Politics……..

        It is easier politically to say that you are controlling emissions by banning the sale of aftermarket “race” parts that allows rolling coal as opposed to shutting down coal powered plants.

        Even if all of SEMA companies died because of legislation it would not come close to the cost of actually shutting down big industrial polluters.

        The real culprits have enough clout to be left alone.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          I used to be in the coal business. I could tell you every grandfathered coal-fired power generation station on the upper Ohio river. This makes electricity dirt cheap in that area, and it seems to be OK with the locals in terms of SO2 and other non-CO2 emissions.

          Now we get a movement to limit CO2 emissions. How to handle that?

          How about negotiating a deal with China et. al. to shut down one of our CO2 spewing (assuming we agree that that is bad) coal-fired for X numbers of theirs.

          This is a planetary problem – assuming it is a problem at all.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “This makes electricity dirt cheap in that area, and it seems to be OK with the locals in terms of SO2 and other non-CO2 emissions.”

            I hate to say it, but what “the locals” think is of no importance. “The locals” were fine with leaded gas for years. The average person has literally zero ability to assess non-visible air pollution, and also has no grasp of long term effects.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            jimz

            Of course, what the ‘locals’ think is of no importance. You and I know better what is good for them.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    How is this sale of emission cheats any different from VW’s sale of emission cheats besides being smaller in scale?

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Vw forced their owners into non compliance, there was no possibility of legal operation. The tuning industry is being targeted for actions taken by their customers that contradicts their intended use labeling (off road only). Even if the enforcement gets cut off by a judge at some point the damage will already be done.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        TDI owners aren’t targeted, the OEM is.

        “Even if the enforcement gets cut off by a judge at some point the damage will already be done.”

        An epic injustice.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          “Tdi owners aren’t targeted”

          Exactly, this is about the manufacturer. The tuners are making a product for off road use. The oem for on road use. In both cases that distinction is made crystal clear by the respective parties at time of purchase. What the epa doesn’t like about this is that they do not have enforcement capabilities equal to the mandate they are seeking to expand. Hence the desire to hold one party to account for the actions of another.

          The oem isn’t at fault if some nut plows through a crowd of bikers even if every single aspect of the vehicle seems tailor made for such a purpose in hindsight.

          • 0 avatar
            tedward

            Agreed there. My point is more that good government means picking your battles wisely. In liquor’s case the ban was not effective (most importantly) and carried enormous ethical costs in enforcement and predictable blackmarket proliferation. It’s a completely legitimate problem on paper and yet in our culture the cure was still miles worse than the disease.

            In the tuning industry example the costs are massive economic harm, lack of uniform enforcement possibility, legal precedent with the potential to bring those problems to other industries, a curtailing of consumer purchasing options, increased motor vehicle running costs, and the harm this will bring to the epa’s political capital in their endeavors that have a clear upside. There are probably more.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Any idea what fraction of SEMA member emmision non-compliant off road use only labeled products are used exclusively on road? 95% on road? Hint; it rounds to all.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        tedward,
        There is one flaw with your comment.

        The manufacturers know they are selling a product that is not being used as intended.

        I do know your response will be along the lines of “but, it isn’t the aftermarket manufacturers problem what the customer does”.

        But, similar to VAG/VW the manufacturers is knowingly (morally) incorrect in it’s actions.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          Big al. I don’t think that’s right at all. You set up a situation where almost any product’s manufacturer is liable for any usage of their products. There have been recent efforts to apply that standard to the firearm industry as well. Sticking to cars, is chevy responsible for dui’s in every cruze?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            teward,
            Any product ever manufactured by man can be used for “evil”.

            The problem here is we have a government institution like the EPA which has pressure, influence or whatever you want to call being applied.

            The EPA is where it is today because it has been allowed to occur.

            It will end up like the CIA, almost unanswerable to the people/government. The CIA obtained it’s position by fighting “evil and wrongdoers”. But the way in which it fights might not be accepted by many in the country it is protecting.

            The EPA is the same.

          • 0 avatar
            smartascii

            Tedward, this reminds me of the a story about cigarettes in England. The legend holds that, once upon a time, England taxed cigarettes sold in packs of more than 10 at an exponentially higher rate than those that contained 10 or fewer. It appears that an enterprising young gentleman began selling double-length cigarettes with a double-length filter in the middle of the cigarette, or what was essentially two cigarettes joined together at the filter end. When challenged on this packaging, he said, “Hey, it’s not my fault if my customers buy my cigarettes and cut them in half!” There are most certainly companies who are part of SEMA and are doing the automotive equivalent of this. There is a difference between the unfortunate misuse of a product by an irresponsible purchaser and something designed to circumvent regulations and which everyone understands is sold with a wink and a nod.

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Suing Johnny Walker for dui’s would be an appropriate analogy I believe.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Completely agree and it should happen.

        • 0 avatar
          tedward

          So liquor should be functionally illegal? You don’t need to be an ardent student of history to see the practical downsides of that view.

          If I buy a hammer and hurt someone with it what then? Many, many products have harmful possible uses.

          • 0 avatar
            LukeColorado

            A better analogy would be suing manufacturers of those crack pipes you see at the Korean markets labeled for “tobacco use only”

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Many, many products have harmful possible uses.”

            But most of those have beneficial, constructive uses that outweigh the risk.

            What might be the beneficial, constructive uses for booze or race cars?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            “What might be the beneficial, constructive uses for booze or race cars?”

            I can’t speak for race cars but a daily nightcap is keeping me sane. I find that very beneficial.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          I need more guys like you so I can get my illegal booze operation off the ground.

          As my long dead grand pappy used to say; “to make it in America you need to earn three dishonest dollars for every honest dollar you make.”

          Time has proven him a keen observer of the American condition.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “to make it in America you need to earn three dishonest dollars for every honest dollar you make.”

            This philosophy still exists, but now has primarily moved into the white-collar realm, where billions are moved around in milliseconds, and tax evasion leaves the rest of us holding the tab.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          yes, because the War on (some) Drugs has been such a smashing success, and kept our streets so safe.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            We keep failing at the same old game of attempting to forcibly interdict noxious substances that some people crave.

            Were I king I’d let them have all they wanted of tweaked versions of same. I’d even use govt resources to distribute them.

            Recent news from India illustrated the effectiveness of even an unsystematic and unintentional instance of this solution.

            I’d call it the “Helping Darwin” initiative.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      This is a little different because VW deliberately cheated with cerfified road-going cars. The EPA is now going after the aftermarket that supplies parts that modify cars which may or may not actually increase emissions. Their wording essentially clarifies that ANY modification to a certified engine is illegal, off-road race car or not. Until now, race parts vendors put a “for off-road use only” disclaimer on their parts which seemed to absolve them of responsibility if an owner used them on road. Now the EPA is basically saying you can’t modify your car from certified configuration at all. EPA defenders can say that they won’t go after individuals all they want, but with this wording, they could if they wanted to. And I wouldn’t put it past someone inside to get the great idea to sit outside a race track and nab racers as they come and go. The Canadian version, the MOE has done this on multiple occasions at Toronto Motorsports Park.

      No thanks.

  • avatar
    tedward

    Recreation for liquor obviously. That right there is perhaps the most resource intensive human endeavor. Also, the cure for alcohol is far worse than the disease. Ask any student of the prohibition era.

    Power, fuel economy, cost effective vehicle repair and a side of recreation for the tunning industry. We collectively spend billions yearly pursuing all of those goals. They are entirely legitimate ends.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “We collectively spend billions yearly pursuing all of those goals.”

      Ah.. like porn, drugs & prostitution. Point accepted.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Or ice cream, soda and candy. There’s no nutritional justification there and diabetes is a thing.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Yep, it’s all on a continuum but high-carb confections generally result in fewer traffic fatalities and less domestic violence than do fermented/distilled neurotoxins.

          • 0 avatar
            Kevin Jaeger

            Right now I hold TTAC responsible for serving us your constant idiocy.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I’ll just do anything for attention, I guess. Glad they’re enabling me!

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            He’s socialpathic.

            I read an interesting article the other day regarding sociopathic tendencies.

            It afflicts possibly one in five of us to varying degrees.

            Apparently there is one constant trait in being sociopathic. You change your value, morals to suit the outcome you want.

            In Rideheights case, to win. Which without this basic trait, you can’t be a sociopath.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Great. Now I’ve got the Pointer Sister’s “Automatic” stuck in my head.

            No way to control it
            It’s totally socialpathic

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Socialpathic?

            Is that someone who is socially pathetic?

            @RideHeight

            Fight the Good Fight.

            @BigAl –

            The very definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result each time……..

            Care to take a close look at your posts?

            Oh and do yourself a favour and stay very very far away from the psychologist’s, psychiatrist’s and criminologist’s realm of behavioral analysis and diagnosis.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Thanks, Lou!

            This woman hatin’ hot rod club needs antagonists who can form complete sentences.

            But Pch is a dispassionate Vulcan and Xerenar writes (turgidly) like the undergraduate son of a union boss.

            So I’m trying to be Goldilocks!

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “So I’m trying to be Goldilocks!”

            Fence-straddling is a fine art, but when comment threads are super-political, the fence becomes topped with barbed-wire.

            Which seems to be the case more and more nowadays.

            The Internet’s existence is now officially for the purpose of sustaining political cat-fights, that (as we all know) are effective at changing policy.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @RideHeight – I like your sense of humour and “we” do tend to take some stuff a bit to seriously and Shaker sums it up rather nicely.

            @Shaker – I agree that we are aren’t going to change anything with the political “cat-fights” but I do hope that we at least try to understand that there are differing opinions and somehow somewhere we can find some common ground.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            @Lou_BC:

            For every political ‘moderate’ I’ve encountered of late, there are a hundred that have found an ‘enclave’ of like-minded people who joyfully reinforce each others’ viewpoints, using the vast (“truthy”) resources of the Internet to wallow in comfortable philosophies. This is demonstrated on both sides of our politics (as, for now, there seems to be two major antipodal entities).

            Tribalism lives on, vastly assisted by electronic acceleration. The success of ISIS is testimony to the fact that, on the whole, people change much more slowly than the technology that is available to them.

            “Pandora’s Box”, indeed.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Tribalism lives on”

            “Football is Family”

            And around here, “What’s your MOS?”.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            RideHeight is making fun of my ears. Again.

      • 0 avatar
        smartascii

        See? It’s not just liberals who want to use the laws to control your behavior because they know what’s best for you. Other people’s vices are always a menace to society; our own are harmless fun being squashed by Big Brother.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @smartascii – wow. you got us pegged. just a bunch of killjoys.
          Resistance is futile.

          @shaker – yes. Tribalism lives on. Instead of clubs, we beat each other over the head with key strokes.
          Tribalism means clinging tenaciously to the familiar.
          I’ve said this before, we do not seek the truth, we seek validation of our beliefs. As you have pointed out, the internet allows one “to wallow in comfortable philosophies.”

  • avatar
    tedward

    Damn. Reply eaten. Cliff notes. The cure for liquor was miles worse than the cure, and I agree that there’s legit problems with alcohol. I’m arguing that the same dynamic holds true in this case. I completely understand that these products are ending up on road cars.

    Edit. My exact definition of bad legislation or regulation is one where the cure is worse than the disease. This is not my unique idea or anything.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Some heavy advertising dollars must have been used as leverage. I’ll agree with Evans to a point, as I also believe the EPA, and especially CARB, will do almost anything it can to kill the aftermarket related to pollution control.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    When is Norm gonna get on here and give us the ‘cold, dead fingers’ speech about his 45 mpg, ‘Vette-smoking Verano (or whatever the hell it was)?

  • avatar
    tedward

    Incredibly disturbing is the language making it a violation to refuse access to a vehicle for emissions testing. That alone seems to belie the claim that this is not being positioned for future owner level enforcement.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Evans was out of place with his reactionary piece. There is a real threat to grassroots motorsport here. Even if they want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend no one will eventually come for our racecars, the wording pretty clearly states that it is illegal to modify a certified engine, period. Not just remove the emissions equipment which was always against the law, but anything that changes it from it’s original certification, whether it actually increases emissions or not.

    In Ontario where I used to live, some hot rodders got around emissions violations tickets with motor swaps by doing an actual tailpipe emissions test and showing that the swapped engine (usually modified itself) actually surpassed the emissions standards of the original powertrain. With this latest EPA wording, none of that seems to matter. Don’t touch it, period.

    SEMA is rightly concerned with this. Even if the EPA only goes after aftermarket suppliers rather than individual racers, this will essentially make commercially available race parts unobtainable if thoroughly enforced. So if they get the hurt, we will feel it too.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      danio, this would also be a threat to restomod cars where a modern engine is placed in a car built before emissions control. Replacing a carburetor V8 with a junkyard LS V8 almost certainly reduces pollution from the old car, but the LS engine is necessarily modified from its certified configuration because that configuration never existed from the factory. It would be legal to drive around using OEM malaise-era pollution control equipment and illegal to upgrade a car to 21st century pollution control equipment that works orders of magnitude better.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I don’t know what exactly the reach will be with this new rule, but that type of restomod swap was technically illegal in Ontario as their rules stated all OEM emissions equipment had to stay intact. So if the original car had EGR, the swap had to have it too. Well most LS engines can pass modern emissions standards without EGR, so those hotrodders showed the idiocy of those rules by providing tailpipe tests, and the judges accepted them and tossed their tickets out.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So after failing to discover the VAG emissions cheating for six years on its own, and after failing to arrest a single person in Flint for toxic amounts of lead in water in violation of the Clean Water Act, yes we must go after the real criminals who market aftermarket car equipment. Because 1,000-2,000 automobiles out of 16,000,000 sold per year, matters. So sit on it you statist thugs, oh and Scott Evans go f*ck yourself.

    Congratulations USA! You have reached the level of:

    B-A-N-A-N-A
    R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      28-Cars-Later – SEMA is a small fish in a pond full of much bigger fish.
      Government can make political hay frying minnows while leaving the big fish to sh!t all over the place.

      There was 7 billion spent on the last USA election and 6 billion on the prior one.

      SEMA members are a sacrificial lamb offered for the sins of those fronting the lion share of that 6-7 billion.

  • avatar
    Brett Woods

    I think it’s a matter of getting the numbers out and presenting a case. The numbers of vintage restomods, tuner cars, race cars, museum pieces and specialized enthusiast machines is a drop in the bucket. It will come time for hobbyists and enthusiasts to have to lobby for exemptions. More so in the years to come.

    Society changing, automobile favoring laws have so far slipped through like hot butter on wax paper. Clean air rules were hard fought for. Compared to each of us who read car magazines, there are literally millions of others who couldn’t care less. Mostly they are about an easy today. Cheating, whether on emissions or anything else, is what they will do for convenience. The anti-mod laws will just have to be re-visited IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Brett, the main issue is the cost of certification of emissions control modification. Pollution control regulations have the effect of reducing consumer choice because the very high cost of certification testing needs to be averaged over a large number of units. What’s needed is testing inexpensive enough to allow small numbers of vehicles to be re-certified after modification. Seems to me that allowing cars older than some reasonable age like 8 or 10 years to be re-certified after modification would be a net positive for pollution control. The OEM pollution control equipment is starting to wear out anyway, so re-certified cars are unlikely to make more pollution than leaving the cars both unmodified and untested.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    The EPA is attempting to justify its existence in an era where new cars and power plants are near-zero emissions, and has become a weaponized tool of a quasi-marxist regime. This is an agency where 90% of the policy related, and 50% of the enforcement related people could be laid-off tomorrow, with a net improvement to the environment. (see Animas River toxic spill)

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do believe the auto manufactures would also bee keen to reduce after market suppliers. Easy value adding to their bottom line.

    But, if these manufacturers are too short sighted they will be sh!tting in their own nests. Who will want to buy a vehicle you can’t modify to be more competitive at a race. The same goes for street driving.

    What the EPA must realise is this will set back the aftermarket industry and possibly do some unintended good with many resourceful backyard operators modifying vehicles.

    Like the old days, take you car down to a mechanic and he’ll modify and “work” your vehicle.

    Hmmm ….. there could be a fantastic opportunity here, until the EPA police mechanics for modifying vehicles.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Agree with Brett Woods. And if any sensless aftermarket limiting laws will be put in place, then aftermarket will go partilally underground, because demand wont dissapear. Forced induction is going mainstream and and the demand will stay high, so all aftermarket hardware will be sold as “smoothness enhancing devices” etc. True power upgrade software maps will be downloadable from third party websites/forums, so there is no real possibility to control it or fine anyone. At the moment it seems government agencies are waisting taxpayer money because they dont understand what they are doing and are chasing impossible goals.

    The whole thing is a farce anyway. One oiltanker taking a 2000 mile detour in the Pacific ocean because of a navigation error will pollute the enviroment more than the whole car aftermarket industry in the US during one month.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    This is all getting pretty alarmist. Nothing is stopping you from installing a rollcage, switching out headers, or installing a turbo. What they’re going after is aftermarket equipment that is in violation of the clean air act. The fact that they’re enforcing the rules more equitably seems to chaff because it goes against your preferred groups. Race cars that aren’t equipped to pass emissions need to be trailered, simple as that. If you can’t afford that, go into a racing league that lets you be competitive while playing within the parameters of a street-legal vehicle.

    Yes, this market is small, no the EPA isn’t spending more than a percentage point of their resources on it (it’s just more noticeable due to proximity).

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Headers and a turbo would be a direct violation. The turbo would would actually have many violations since you would be modifying many parts 9f the intake and exhaust. Then you need to either retune the existing ECM or go standalone to make it further violating emission laws. If they weren’t going after these kinds of modifications, there would be no reason to “clarify ” the law. They could have just left it in the grey area like it was before.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        not necessarily. There are plenty of aftermarket parts which have been granted an exemption by CARB after the manufacturer has shown it does not cause a material increase in emissions:

        http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/aftermkt/devices/amquery.php

        there are already mechanisms in place for aftermarket equipment manufacturers to prove their s**t don’t stink.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Um…..No. There is actually a great number of parts that are certified to not violate the Clean Air Act. The problem for some manufacturers is that they operate in that gray area with intent but some are upfront and submit their results for certification for street legal use. JimZ beat me to it but again, alarmist fears over government are alarmist…

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatist

          Blue states are losing populating to red states. People are voting with their feet.

          I started very liberal but ass I got older I got gradually disillusioned with lala land.

          One learns from experience.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Pragmatist,
            Your ass may be getting older, but not better at understanding the electoral map. States that were once solidly red, are increasingly turning blue. States like Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.

            This is why you see Republican politicians in Texas and the South constantly railing against voter fraud. They know voter fraud is extremely rare, but they bring it up as a cover to prevent African-Americans and Latinos from voting. So they can retain power, even when the people are increasingly Democratic.

            Just look at the primaries. On the Democratic side, you have a progressive (new word for liberal) and socialist democratic running neck-and-neck. On the Republican side, you have a fairly liberal populist running away with the nomination while a bunch of conservatives argue over an increasingly tiny and meaningless base.

            Americans are embracing progress.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        There is a heavy cost to getting your parts certified. It’s the answer any aftermarket parts supplier will give you when asked why part Xmas isn’t CARBeach certified. If this goes through, affordable low volume parts will go away. There will be expensive specialty modifications, and other mods for high volume cars like Mustangs, Camaros,and Civics. A certified header for a third generation MR2? That’s not going to happen.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          And that’s just a cost of doing business. Perhaps the EPA can work with the aftermarket to speed the process or cheapen it but until we see the actual results, I’m going to hold back the alarmist attitudes.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            Imagine how exciting stock bodied dragsters would become.

            Be building an engine from scratch (ha), you’re still using an EPA listed body… Still a violation.

  • avatar
    JD321

    Most “journalists” are lefty parasite monkey-children that “think” they are entitled to other people’s lives and incomes…What do you expect from Government schools and TV programming? Most people in the USA under 35 are now too stupid to be free…They are literally mentally retarded monkey-children. The USA will be as pathetic as Venezuela/Greece in 15 years. PCH101 would probably agree.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Aww…..Are you suffering from the ‘boomer delusion’ where you think when things were more socialized that you were freer? It’s so laughable to watch you say these things and then go back to your college education-level job with no debt, your low-cost housing from government backed loans, and the other scores of things that you benefitted from that my generation has to suffer through because you wanted to cut funding after you got your share.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        it’s been sad yet amusing to watch the boomers transform from liberal hippies to f**k-you-I’ve-got-mine old white people.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @JimZ, trying having to supervise/evaluate those hypocrites. I’ve got an employee (born in the 1940s) who has gone from being a Woodstock attendee and arrived here for her first education job in an air cooled Beetle that was so worn out she had to be towed from Clines Corners, NM to Gallup, NM. Now she’s a card carrying Republican who thinks everyone is getting preferential treatment but her.

        • 0 avatar
          Master Baiter

          “it’s been sad yet amusing to watch the boomers transform from liberal hippies to f**k-you-I’ve-got-mine old white people.”

          There’s a word for what you’re describing. It’s called wisdom.
          .
          .

          • 0 avatar
            Xeranar

            Not really, given that we have empirical evidence verifying that conservative-run states tend to do poorer on the spectrum than liberal-run ones. The off-setting factors for some conservative states is the large population centers that tend to be liberal bastions that keep a state afloat or massive extraction industries (like oil, timber, and coal) that help. Pretty much everything we know about why Mississippi is a shithole of a place is because conservatives have intentionally kept it that way. It’s the perfect example of a state with minimal off-setting benefits to see full-blown conservatism.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I wouldn’t use the word wisdom……..

            The right has a very unusual tendency to worship complete unfettered open markets with zero support for the lower class.

            That must be where the uneducated angry white Christian male part of their support comes in….
            If you are educated enough you realize that for the most part, that group would benefit the most from a more balanced “social” approach.

            The rest are high enough up the pecking order that they fall into “f**k-you-I’ve-got-mine old white people.” cohort.

            Babyboomers are 51-74 yrs old so that is biologically self limiting.

            I’m a boomer that used to be “right” but too many of “their” beliefs are harsh and rather un-Christ like. I’d use the word Christian but that gets abused too much.

        • 0 avatar
          Jimal

          Boomers are the absolute worst. The unfortunate side effect of The Greatest Generation is that they spawned The Worst Generation when they decided that their kids shouldn’t have to go through the hardships they did, so for the most part they didn’t. And because so many of them didn’t suffer any real hardships in their lives (and what hardships there were were mostly self-inflicted) now that they’re in their golden years and unprepared for it, they blame everyone else.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Private Joker: I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.
            Pogue Colonel: The what?
            Private Joker: The duality of man. The Jungian thing, sir.
            Pogue Colonel: Whose side are you on, son?
            Private Joker: Our side, sir.
            Pogue Colonel: Don’t you love your country?
            Private Joker: Yes, sir.
            Pogue Colonel: Then how about getting with the program? Why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?
            Private Joker: Yes, sir.
            Pogue Colonel: Son, all I’ve ever asked of my marines is that they obey my orders as they would the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese, because inside every g*ok there is an American trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.
            Private Joker: Aye-aye, sir.

        • 0 avatar
          SP

          “…transform to … old white people.”

          Wow, they even changed ethnicity as they aged?

          That really is fascinating.

      • 0 avatar
        JD321

        Aww…I’m 34 years old and born in the Soviet Union….
        Who do you think yer gonna steal from?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      There is literal evidence here that the retarded monkey-children may be smarter than JD321.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “mentally retarded monkey-children.”

      Or PUPPY MONKEY BABY!

      Just when I start thinking about the chip-chip-chipping away of our Constitutional rights to drive modified vehicles when and where we please, I see PUPPY MONKEY BABY, and just laugh it all off.

      (drool)

  • avatar
    shaker

    Since we have little “domestic manufacturing” in this country to speak of, SEMA members probably represent a fair chunk of “manufacturing” these days. So, their lobbyists are (metaphor) sticking their heads above the wall by trying to expand their business to more and more vehicles that will see more street miles than track miles – that’s the EPA’s “enforcement zone”.

    If SEMA wants to, they could (as they have in the past) emphasize that aftermarket equipment that alters emissions should be restricted to vehicles licensed/plated for a limited yearly mileage (“Classic” or “Antique” registration). But that would limit the expansion of their business members.

    Or, I’m (one agin) FOS :-)

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      The manufacturing output of America is greater now than at any point in history by a significant margin.

      We just do it with far fewer people. Technology, yo.

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        “We just do it with far fewer people. Technology, yo.”

        True Dat…

        Which makes the shareholders very happy; net result: The money moves upwards. Yes, many of us are invested in 401(k) plans, but it’s an illusion to think that (at least for the short-term) these are “wise” investments – it’s just more money for the elite “investors” to steer into disaster.

        Our “future” has just become grist for the mill of high-speed money movement that has little to do the the actual value of the company’s stock, and more about short-term gains for the insiders.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          shaker – interesting you mention disaster. There is big money made in any sort of disaster whether it be “natural” or man-made read: war, economic, political et al.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Eh, maybe. I don’t actually care about any of that.

          I just wanted to provide a counterpoint to your statement that “we have little domestic manufacturing in this country”; as there is in fact quite a lot of it.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “as there is in fact quite a lot of it.”

            As a former steelworker who personally witnessed the transformation of steel plants into shopping malls and “industrial parks”, and who tries a bit harder than most to seek American-made products, I don’t see as much as I used to.

            I recently saw a clip where a group of employees of Carrier being informed that their plant would be closed and moved to Mexico:

            http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/02/13/viral-video-over-plant-closure-gets-attention-in-gop-debate/

            With the desires of shareholders being paramount, decisions like this will only increase, as “the rest of the industry is doing it”.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “As a former steelworker who personally witnessed the transformation of steel plants into shopping malls and “industrial parks””

            You stayed in the same place? Must not have been a one-horse town re employers.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            RH: “You stayed in the same place?”

            I got lucky – my electronics hobby (and 2-year degree) keeps me employed to this day.

            Many others had to leave town.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Pizza, you’d have been a cool guy to work and Heathkit with.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Modifying the emissions systems of road going cars has been illegal for many years. SEMA members have been actively growing their business with a wink wink off-road use only disclaimer. The EPA has noticed this plain truth and is talking about what to do about it. SEMA is waging a PR battle to try and protect a loophole for its members.

    In the early days aftermarket companies did a big business in “off road only” catalytic converter bypass pipes. Today they are typically more sophisticated.

    How many aftermarket ECU modifications have passed a full battery of vehicle emissions certification tests.

    The car mags are in a tough spot because tuner parts and services are part of their advertising base.

  • avatar
    redav

    From the quotes I saw, I didn’t see enough info to really make a decision about what would be made illegal.

    Rather, what I saw was the EPA laying groundwork to increase/strengthen their ability to regulate offroad and/or competition parts.


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