No, the EPA isn’t making it illegal to turn an old car into a race car
The Environmental Protection Agency is at the center of another controversy, this time with automotive racers and enthusiasts. At issue is a proposed rule that sounds to some like the EPA wants to ban anyone from turning a road car into a track-only toy or race car.
Last July, the EPA published a lengthy 629-page proposed rule called "Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles—Phase 2." Buried within the text was an amendment to an existing federal rule that reiterated Clean Air Act policy on road vehicles equipped with emissions controls. According to that rule, owners, operators, aftermarket companies, and service businesses may not tamper with or remove emissions equipment on vehicles so fitted, be they dedicated race cars or not.
The two-month window for public comments on the proposed rule came and went (closing on September 11, 2015) with little notice or fuss. But earlier this week, the Specialty Equipment Manufacturer's Association (SEMA) circulated a press release claiming that the "EPA Seeks to Prohibit Conversion of Vehicles Into Racecars." While this headline correctly assesses the EPA's position, it overstates the notion that anything has changed. Regardless, it inflamed passions in the racing and car enthusiast world in no time.