EPA Rules Could Hurt Motorsports in Montana
Modifying vehicles has been a popular hobby since mass production of the automobile became the norm. Shortly after Henry Fords affordable Model T started rolling off the assembly line, car owners began customizing their vehicles, as covered by the New York Times. Custom Model T's in the 1920's were made into everything from tow trucks and snow machines to logging trucks and race cars.
Hot rodding and racing became even more popular during Prohibition, as moonshiners souped up their cars to evade Johnny Law, leading to the creation of NASCAR. The need-for-speed hobby really exploded in popularity when GI's returned from WWII. Auto publisher Hemmings has a great history HERE.
Many Montanans are into classic cars, hot rods and motorsports racing. You'll see hundreds of them at the annual Burn The Point cruise in Billings on Labor Day Weekend. Other folks enjoy tinkering on their motorcycles, off-road Jeeps and old trucks. Some take the sport to the extreme with drag racing at Yellowstone Drag Strip near Acton and dirt-track stock car racing is a popular weekend activity at tracks across the state.
Montanans generally don't appreciate people telling us what we can and can't do (for example, the great mask debate of 2020). So fans of motorized sports in Montana should pay attention to the EPA's ongoing push for more regulations that would limit and restrict the modification of vehicles.
SEMA, the aftermarket automotive parts industry trade association, is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the EPA, regarding the agencies attempts to restrict the practice of making a street car a race car. These restrictions could further limit the use and sale of aftermarket performance parts such as superchargers, tuners, and exhaust systems.
Legislation has been proposed to protect the rights of individuals to modify or customize the performance of their vehicles. According to SEMA, the bipartisan Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act (RPM Act) would be a step in the right direction, stating:
The RPM Act reverses the EPA's interpretation that the Clean Air Act does not allow a motor vehicle designed for street use—including a car, truck, or motorcycle—to be converted into a dedicated racecar.
OPINION: Everybody likes clean air, but unchecked government restrictions on what you can do to your own vehicle is a slippery slope. What's next? Will it someday be illegal to change your own oil at home?
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