What Is The RPM Act? No More Fun for You!

By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach, and Paul Fix III

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) wants to control your car, negatively impact the economy, take your freedom, and deny you fun in motorsports.

Why is this issue important? It’s more than just about racing.

In 2015, the EPA adjusted the language in the Clean Air Act of 1975 to apply to the tampering of emissions systems on vehicles. This was a response to the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” scandal. In 2020 the language was re-clarified and did not include a stipulation for race cars or cars that have been modified into race cars. The EPA has since made a statement that any vehicle that has ever had a VIN (vehicle identification number) is not allowed to have any “off-road” parts installed on it.

The EPA wants to control your freedom to modify your street vehicles. This means all cars, trucks, and motorcycles can’t be converted into race cars (or motorcycles) or part-time race cars, according to the EPA.

It gets worse, wait.

The EPA has announced that enforcement against high-performance parts, including superchargers, tuners, and exhaust systems, is a top priority.

This extends to manufacturers, distributors, installers, and users of race car parts on your road-car-turned-racecar. It also means you can’t manufacture or install parts that change the vehicle’s emissions in any way. If you do, be prepared for a considerable fine directly from the EPA. The internet is already awash with examples of the EPA going after individuals and small businesses that work in the racing industry and hitting them with fines that go into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The EPA’s statements have been inconsistent. They may go after the sale of parts that are for racing use only. In a recent legal preceding, a representative of the EPA stated:

“An EPA certified motor vehicle cannot become a non-road vehicle even if it is used exclusively for competition, because the definition of a motor vehicle hinges on the purpose of its design and not its use.”

This has an impact both on the economy and your freedom! 

Over $2 billion in racing-exclusive parts are sold each year, and the automotive aftermarket as a whole sells over $32 Billion. That includes over 7,300 businesses with SEMA and thousands more with PRI. All of that is under threat. And that means job losses too.

So what is being done about it?

SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association, and PRI, the Performance Racing Industry, have partnered together on the RPM Act (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021), which will be H.R. 3281 and S. 2736, to attempt to push a bill to Congress to stop these actions. This would enshrine race cars made from streetcars within the bill’s language, allow enthusiasts to continue building them, and allow the industry to continue. The majority of racecars are built from regular road vehicles and modified by enthusiasts for grassroots racing. Americans have already sent over 1.3 million letters to their representatives to stop the EPA.

This is about exhaust emissions, so let’s get a comparable: 15 container ships put out more pollution than every car on the road in the USA. Today, hundreds of cargo ships are sitting in the ocean waiting to unload, and this is not good either. But I digress.

I should note that the RPM Act doesn’t protect your vehicle if it is mildly modified or a hot rod. So the cat-back exhaust system on your Civic or the engine swap in your old Firebird would not fall under the protections of the RPM Act if it is passed. Give the EPA a chance, and your vehicle is next. They could even extend their interpretation to things as small as changing the tires and wheels on your car (which would affect your emissions). As a reminder, it is illegal (in many cases). It will remain illegal to modify a road car with perhaps some leniency depending on modifications along with state and local laws.

The Bottom Line

Fight to protect businesses that impact jobs, the economy, and your sport. Go to www.SaveOurRaceCars.com and contact your representative to help us fight back. This is step one to save our hobby.

You can follow and comment @paulfix3 on all social media.

Watch the video review. If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer.

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host.  A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news, and safety issues.   

Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on ABC.com with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak. 

Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum, and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.  

Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.

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