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EPA to ban Production racing? Even for EV's?

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by McRat, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    The EPA has no legal authority over auto racing by law.

    However, they are attempting a back door effort to do just that.

    They are trying to get regulations passed that would forbid any modifications to any production cars for racing purposes. This applies to all cars that the EPA did emission testing on for highway use.

    Which actually includes Electric Cars. Yes, the EPA does test and derive a MPGe emissions level for electric cars. Altering anything that would change the MPGe of an EV would be illegal for off-road competition purposes.

    Very few people modify their cars for competition. It is not a significant cause of pollution, especially with EVs.

    If you feel the EPA should obey the law and refrain from restricting production auto racing, then sign this White House petition:

    Tell the EPA to Withdraw Its Proposal to Prohibit the Conversion of Vehicles Into Racecars | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government
     
  2. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    #2 S'toon, Feb 10, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2016
    Yeah, that's not true. It must be noted that SEMA is the organization representing the aftermarket parts industry. They're sowing FUD.
    http://jalopnik.com/the-epas-crackdown-on-race-cars-explained-1758111546

    You know, if something sounds fantastical on the internet, try and do a quick web search to confirm if it's true or not before doing anything else.
     
  3. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    Non-Road vehicles have always been, and will continue to be exempt from Federal law.

    This new effort is only going to affect passenger vehicles that are monitored by the EPA.

    In the past, low dollar racing efforts always started with a production car (not usually a farm tractor or snowmobile) as a start point.

    The EPA wants that to end, claiming a race car cannot be built from anything that was EPA tested.
     
  4. vinnie97

    vinnie97 Member

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    Just another reminder that DC is inhabited by overbearing control freaks.
     
  5. Caligula

    Caligula Member

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    Welp, no more modified riding mower races! Heh
     
  6. McRat

    McRat Active Member

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    You are reading it backwards. The EPA still cannot control off-road vehicles used for racing. Mower racing will remain exempt. What the EPA is saying, is that a race car is no longer classified as an off-road vehicle if you started with a vehicle that was tested by the EPA.
     
  7. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    #7 Gizmotoy, Feb 12, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
    Is it FUD? That quote means the EPA is clarifying (changing?) their rules to state that EPA-certified vehicles cannot be non-road vehicles, even if they're used solely as track vehicles. It contradicts your other statements. From your very own link, just one paragraph down:
    This sounds like exactly what is claimed by the OP, and came from a statement directly from the EPA. So the situation is actually that prior to this point no one expected modified production vehicles used solely for competition to be covered by EPA regulations. Now the EPA says they've always been covered by their regulations, but that they will take into consideration whether a vehicle is used for competition when selecting cases for enforcement.

    Further, the EPA goes on to say:
    So how, then, do you convert your production vehicle into a track car if the EPA has brought actions against the manufacturers who produce those parts you require to do so? Because that manufacturer is not going to be able to ensure that parts it sells never make it onto vehicles on public roads. How could they?
     
  8. gregincal

    gregincal Active Member

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    Which of course is the whole reason the EPA wants to be able to crack down on the manufacturers. My guess is that the VW scandal has them worried that parts manufacturers are going to start making parts that pass when tested and behave differently at other times, and they won't be able to stop them from being sold because they claim they are only for racing cars.
     
  9. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    The problem being that the only possible way to make that work is for government intervention. Essentially, they need to make it mandatory to register track vehicles, and then the parts manufacturers will have to check that registration before selling the parts.

    Just going after the manufacturers without having the framework in place for them to actually follow the regulations is a problem.

    And even then there's bound to be issues. What happens when someone with a valid, registered track vehicle takes the part and sticks it on their road car? Is that the manufacturer's responsibility?
     
  10. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Full article at:
    http://gas2.org/2016/02/14/the-low-down-on-the-epa-race-car-modification-flap-doodle/
     
  11. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    While the vast majority of articles on the subject dig into the changes, there's been a couple of articles framed like this one, and they're very interesting. They have click-baity titles like "No, the EPA Didn't Just Outlaw Your Racecar" and then go on to describe how, in fact, the EPA did just state, almost word-for-word, that your racecar is illegal. The justification being that, "Don't worry, it's OK. We're just not going to enforce it."

    The reason both of these things can be true is because they've clarified (changed.) what constitutes a non-road vehicle. Using the prior text, a track vehicle would be a non-road vehicle and exempt from the provisions quoted in all of those articles you've listed. In the latest regulations, a motor vehicle can no longer be a non-road vehicle, which would instantly make practically every track vehicle illegal. The change of the text, and how they've framed the reasoning for the change, allows the EPA to make statements like "it's been illegal since 1977" without that having actually been understood to be the case.

    So why even bother with the change if they're not going to enforce it? Because they're going to litigate against the companies that make track cars possible. I suppose it's better than getting sued directly, but the result will be the same either way.
     
  12. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    #12 stopcrazypp, Feb 16, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
    The EPA seems to be correct in this case.

    As referenced in Jalopnik article:
    http://jalopnik.com/the-epas-crackdown-on-race-cars-explained-1758111546

    The existing exemption under 40 CFR 1068.235 for engines/equipment used for competition only applies to new engines/equipment produced solely for competition and also nonroad engines/equipment.
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/40/1068.235

    The EPA and Clean Air Act had always defined nonroad engines/equipment as exclusive of cars (instead it covers things like lawnmowers and tractors). This has never changed.
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/40/89.2
    http://www3.epa.gov/otaq/standards/basicinfo.htm

    Thus the new clarification as quoted below does not materially change the situation here, but rather makes it clear for people who have been interpreting "nonroad" to mean something else (mainly a car not driven on public roads).
    Even under existing law, EPA can technically get on your case for modifying the emissions equipment even for a track car. It is just that they don't enforce when the vehicle is not used on public roads.

    As per the OP, I don't think this affects EVs at all because there are no emissions equipment (no tailpipe emissions) that the EPA regulates.
     
  13. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    #13 Gizmotoy, Feb 16, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
    Sadly, I'd conflated the act's definition of non-road with the actual use of vehicles off the road, making my post probably only make sense to myself. I should probably modify or delete it, I suppose.

    There are several preliminary legal analysis in progress, but at least one completed thus far disagrees with that assessment: http://www.24hoursoflemons.com/images/EPA-Memo.pdf?utm_source=Details+of+EPA%27s+LeMons+Law+Proposal&utm_campaign=LeMons+Law+Brief&utm_medium=email

    It's an interesting topic. Unfortunately, no matter who is found to be right, the result seems certain to have an effect on the parts market. Like a lot of things these days, there's no way for an individual to maintain a vehicle on their own without parts access. Currently there's no way for a manufacturer to verify the customer has a track vehicle. Assessing fines for selling to customers without one, and no way to verify that's the case, seems certain to lead to manufacturers closing.

    Is that actually the case? My Tesla has an EPA sticker under the hood detailing the emissions equipment, and in California the DMV had to verify it before I could register the vehicle. Clearly there's no tailpipe emissions equipment to tamper with, but they seem to have some kind of regulation in place.

    Edit: I'll note that I have a vehicle that was at one point technically illegal under both the proposed and current regulations. It ran extremely rich stock, and barely passed CA emissions at 3 years old. Black soot on the trunk. It affected every example of this vehicle for 2 whole model years. Terrible, but Mitsubishi considered it to be operating normally. I had it tuned properly, and at its 5 year check its tailpipe was cleaner than my Honda Civic commuter vehicle. So I also take some issue with "modified=worse-polluting" in the first place.
     
  14. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Looking at that linked analysis, the only support they provide for the Clean Air Act and EPA not covering racing vehicles is this exchange in the committee notes:
    I highlighted the main issue. Namely, the response did not explicitly say that automobiles originally manufactured for use on roads in everyday use and subsequently modified/utilized for competition is exempt. It only says racing vehicles is exempt, however according to the law as written, that only applies to vehicles/engines originally manufactured for this purpose (for example NASCAR, F1, etc). There is no wording in the existing law that says a car that was originally a "motor vehicle" is suddenly exempt or reclassified simply because it was later modified or utilized for competition.

    Yes technically, they still regulate it, but there is no performance related emission equipment that would need exemption in an EV. In California, you need a CARB exempt part if you modify your vehicle and still want to pass smog. This is something the auto parts industry is used to already, but doesn't apply to EVs at all. The only thing that I can think of that might still be covered is stuff like air conditioning refrigerant, but that is quite minor (and not the main part that is likely to be changed to improve EV performance).
     

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