Scrappage is Defeated on U.S. Senate Floor!
From the Editor
Dear SEMA Action Network:
Thank you all for your hard work in opposing, and now defeating, the old car scrappage provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2002 (Section 822 of S. 517).
In case you haven't heard the news, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell's (R-CO) amendment to eliminate scrappage from the legislation was - astonishingly enough - passed by unanimous consent. In the end, even the principal Senate sponsor of the scrappage provision was not willing to oppose the Campbell amendment!
This is fantastic work, work that would not have been possible without the literally thousands of phone calls, faxes, e-mails and letters that SEMA Action Network vehicle clubs and individual enthusiasts sent to U.S. Senators. Hobbyists efforts were a compelling force in defeating the scrappage provision.
SEMA sincerely thanks all SEMA Action Network members for their dedication, hard work and willingness to protect the vehicle hobby today and to preserve it for our children. We are also very indebted to the efforts of our good friend Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Without his exceptional effort and support, victory would have been impossible.
This is an amazing victory and a testament to the powerful connection between the specialty aftermarket automotive industry and the American vehicle hobbyist community.
Job well done.
Director of Public Affairs
Specialty Equipment Market Association
U.S. Senate Defeats Enormous CAFE Hike
SEMA and other proponents of vehicle safety and consumer choice scored a major victory with the defeat of legislation that would have dramatically increased Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. This legislation would have combined the separate CAFE categories of cars and light trucks, then required a combined fleet rating of 36 mpg by 2016. (The current CAFE requirements are 27.5 mpg for cars and 20.7 mpg for light trucks.)
Instead, the Senate adopted an alternative approach that directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to increase CAFE based on a variety of considerations, including technological feasibility, economic practicality, safety concerns and employment in the auto industry. The Senate also moved to specifically exempt pickup trucks from any higher-mileage rules proposed by NHTSA.
SEMA has consistently opposed any legislative CAFE increase. "In order to achieve higher fuel economy standards randomly chosen by Congress, automakers would have to strip weight or desirable performance options from cars and trucks, which would make them less safe and less desirable across the board" said Brian Caudill, SEMA director of outreach and public affairs. "NHTSA is the agency that establishes vehicle safety standards and understands the trade-offs that come from reducing weight and performance in order to increase mileage. NHTSA, not lawmakers, should decide what is feasible."
The Senate's CAFE provision is part of a larger bill to establish a national energy policy. The House has already passed its version of an energy plan, which would raise CAFE by about one mpg over the next seven years. If the Senate completes action on its bill, the House and Senate will then need to agree on a single national energy policy bill.
Legislative action notwithstanding, NHTSA currently has the authority to adjust CAFE and is studying how high to set standards for model-year 2005 and beyond. NHTSA may also recommend that the program itself be restructured to address structural flaws and make it more practical to apply, given the variety of vehicle types produced.
California Bill Would Open 'Specially Constructed' Class to Previously Registered Vehicles
A bill (S.B. 1578) has been introduced in the California Senate to eliminate the requirement that the registration provided to specially constructed vehicles must be a "first-time" registration for that vehicle.
The bill seeks to enhance a California law enacted last year to provide a more accurate emissions-system certification and model-year designation for specially constructed vehicles, including kit cars. Last year's bill enabled only the first 500 vehicles (that had never before been registered) to take advantage of this classification each year. S.B. 1578 opens it up to previously registered vehicles as well! Under previous California law, specially constructed vehicles were assigned the current model year for smog inspection purposes, subjecting kit cars and other specially constructed vehicles to more stringent smog inspection requirements.
Under the new law, to determine model year the inspector compares the vehicle to those of the era that the vehicle most closely resembles. If there is no close match, it is classified as a 1960 vehicle. Only those emissions controls applicable to the model year, that can be reasonably accommodated by the vehicle, are required. In addition, under the new law, the vehicle's owner can choose whether a smog test referee will certify the engine model year or the vehicle model year.
SEMA is certain that the owners of previously unregistered specially constructed vehicles are appreciative of this new law. We are hopeful, however, that S.B. 1578 will open this process up to a lot more vehicles that also deserve this classification.
Street Rod Bills Moving In Illinois...
Pro-hobby legislation (H.B. 4344) to create vehicle registration classifications for street rods and custom vehicles is one step closer to law in Illinois. After some back-room negotiating between Illinois hobbyists, the Illinois State Police and SEMA, an accord was reached and H.B. 4344 passed the Illinois House Transportation Committee. The bill now goes to the full Illinois House for consideration. SEMA and Illinois hobbyists are confident that it will pass there with flying colors.
H.B. 4344 provides for unique titling and license plates and recognizes that street rods and customs are rarely driven and truly unique vehicles that should not be held to the same equipment standards as modern passenger vehicles.
SEMA would like to note that without the continuing efforts of Illinois hobbyists, including Charlie Yapp of the Secrets of Speed Society, Gary Bohlen, Chairman of the Committee to Upgrade Street Rod Laws in Illinois, and Frank Manzullo of the Unique Street Rods Club, this legislation would have never seen the light of day, let alone made its way through the Illinois House.
We will keep you updated on the ongoing progress of this bill.
...and Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, thanks to the efforts of Bob Culgin and the entire Rhode Island Street Rod Association, similar pro rod/custom legislation (H.B. 7110) will soon be voted on by the Rhode Island House Committee on Special Legislation. SEMA and the Rhode Island rod and custom community predict smooth sailing.
"H.B. 7110 and its Senate companion S.B. 2146 would provide specific registration classes for street rods and customs and would only require them to comply with those equipment standards on the books during their year of manufacture," said Steve McDonald, SEMA director of government affairs. Replicas or kit cars would be given a model year designation based on the production vehicle they most closely resemble. The bill would also permit blue-dot taillights and exempt street rods and customs from emissions inspections.
[ Does your state properly treat and recognize street rods and custom vehicles? If not, consider pursuing SEMA's model street rod and custom legislation. Copies are available from Steve McDonald in the SEMA office in Washington, D.C., at 202/783-6007, ext. 31. ]
WE GET LETTERS
Illinois Street Rodder Sounds Off
As I approach 60, the desire for a well-engineered street rod beneath my loins still burns from the passions of my youth. As a young geriatric street rodder, this hobby stimulates me more now than when I was 30. My patient wife of 34 years accuses me of having three things in my life: God, her and cars. She's close!
Here in Illinois we are working to pass H.B. 4344 [SEMA-developed pro rod and custom legislation]. It recently passed the Illinois House Transportation Committee and now goes to the full House. If this bill passes, Illinois rodders become legal. In other words, if we are pulled over for speeding in a Hi-Boy, we can't also be fined for not having bumpers or fenders. It's wonderful!
Most of the credit here in Illinois goes to Gary Bohlen of the Committee to Upgrade Street Rod Laws. As you may recall in the November 2001 Driving Force, Gary was the guy with the 1932 Hi-Boy who had the law tell him to put bumpers on his rod. I drive a 1932 Hi-Boy, a picture of which hangs on my wall. Every time I see it, it inspires me to get busy and change things.
Gary was the right guy at the right time for Illinois rodders. He has organized one of the finest machines in Illinois to update, change, challenge and write new law which will keep street rodding legal.
I'd like to insist that every state without appropriate street rod and custom legislation get busy and do what 28 other states have done - pass pro-hobby rod and custom legislation. You guys who are retired, get off your bucket seats and contact SEMA. Do it now. It will take several trips to your state capital, contacting proper legislators and making phone calls but you must act. The SEMA Action Network will guide you and give you moral and technical support. It's working for us.
-- Frank Manzullo
Unique Street Rods, Rockford, Illinois
Poetic License on Scrappage
Driving to work one day last year in Las Vegas, I passed a flatbed full of crushed cars. Spying an old Camaro and a vintage '60s Chrysler and even an old Mustang, I was really touched. Seeing this, I felt compelled to express my concern for old cars, parts and their stories in a different way. Now, with all the car crushing legislation impending and the loss of irreplaceable parts and memories, I thought you might enjoy this. It's called "The Road to Salvage-tion".
Critically crushed masses on the road to meltdown,
Pummeled into nothingness,
Devoid of your once stately style.
With a chaotic whine, and the shattering of your glass,
The Crusher has taken your life.
Savagely slammed onto a flatbed and stacked four high,
Your pain is only magnified by more burden.
Fellow bodies stare off into the gray sky,
Their eyes now pointed into space.
Your chrome no longer reflects the neon lights,
Your paint now flaked and dull,
Cancer begins its terminal travel along your skin.
Your glass pelted into snowflake crystals,
Your doors never to open again.
Crippled is your body.
Maimed are your axles.
Your blood spilled upon the soil,
Your heart and lungs ripped out at the yard,
Hopefully to live on again.
No more drive-ins will you see,
No more children excited to jump in your seats,
No more road trips, no more service stations.
A molten kettle is your final destination.
Sleeping giant, please sleep deeper,
For it's a sleep you will never awaken from.
Dream of those vacations, and spilled coffee.
Dream of carrying those groceries and smiling soccer tots,
And of weekends at the beach.
Remember the lot where you waited so obediently,
Anticipating the time when your family would return,
So you could proudly bring them home again,
And you could nestle in your warm garage.
Oh mighty, rotting hulk of a forgotten time,
You do live on again,
In our memories, our albums and our hearts.
Our stories will tell the tales of cherished times,
Long adventures to see parks, and elderly family.
Of the times Dad tried to race that new sports model,
And water fights when we bathed you.
Defeated master of the road -
You live forever.
-- Scott Angelmaier
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Newly Introduced Legislation
Note: The following state bills are not laws. They have been recently introduced and are currently being considered for adoption by the respective state legislatures.
Alabama H.B. 365: Provides a tax credit towards the purchase or lease of a zero-emissions vehicle.
Alabama H.B. 472: Establishes an emissions inspection and maintenance program in all areas designated as non-attainment for all vehicles with a model-year 1974 and later; provides for a remote sensing program.
Arizona H.B. 2045: Provides emissions test exemption for vehicles 20 years old and older.
Arizona H.B. 2501: Requires the state to contact U.S. EPA requesting emissions testing exemption for collectible vehicles 15 years old and older.
Arizona H.B. 2560: Provides funding for the vehicle repair and retrofit program.
California A.B. 1058: Provides for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from motor vehicles.
California A.B. 2637: Establishes emissions inspection and maintenance program in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Connecticut S.B. 170: Provides income tax credits towards the purchase of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Connecticut S.B. 275: Requires the state to submit a report concerning exempting vehicles less than four years old from emissions inspections.
Florida S.B. 1664: Exempts alternative fuel vehicles from the sales-and-use tax and from the fuel tax.
Georgia H.B. 1439: Provides income tax credits towards the purchase of low-and zero-emissions vehicles.
Hawaii H.B. 2513/S.B. 2771: Provides for the reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions from motor vehicles.
Kentucky H.B. 46: Exempts vehicles five years old and newer from emissions inspections.
Kentucky S.B. 102: Repeals the vehicle emissions testing program.
New Jersey A.B. 572: Provides exemption from emissions tests for vehicles five years old and newer.
New Jersey S.B. 791: Exempts vehicles certified under Phase II of the California Low Emissions Vehicle program from sales taxes.
Virginia H.B. 570: Implements an on-road emissions testing program for 1968 and newer vehicles.
Washington H.B. 2566/S.B. 6285: Provides tax credits towards the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles.
Washington S.B. 6329: Exempts hybrid vehicles that achieve at least 50 mpg from emissions inspections.
Arizona H.B. 2575: Bases the vehicle registration tax upon the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
Rhode Island S.B. 2485/H.B. 7127: Subjects new vehicles to a fuel efficiency surcharge or credit applicable to the sales or use tax upon registration.
Florida S.B. 1598: Makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to display blue lights on an unauthorized vehicle.
Kentucky H.B. 504: Prohibits any blue or red lights on or under a vehicle that are visible from the front.
Michigan H.B. 5620: Provides for the use of blue-dot taillights.
New York A.B. 7758: Requires retailers to provide notice that under carriage neon lights may violate state and local laws.
Kentucky H.B. 506: Exempts historic vehicles from the requirement that they be safety inspected before being issued a title.
Oklahoma H.B. 2302: Requires those who sell and/or install window tint to provide a written statement that their product is compliant with state law.
Virginia H.J.R.: Provides for a study of the state's safety inspection program.
Washington S.B. 6459: Exempts custom-built vehicles from the requirement that they be equipped with hoods and bumpers.
Tags, Titles and Registration
Arizona H.B. 2503: Permits historic trucks to be driven without a commercial driver's license provided they are not used for commercial purposes.
California S.B. 1578: Eliminates the requirement that the registration provided to specially constructed vehicles must be a first-time registration for that vehicle.
Hawaii H.B. 1768: Permits the County Director of Finance to assign Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) for reconstructed and street rod replica vehicles.
Illinois H.B. 4344: Provides for street rod and custom vehicle registration classifications.
Maine H.B. 1397: Includes trucks under the definition of an antique vehicle and permits them to be driven for non-commercial purposes without a trucker's license.
Rhode Island H.B. 7110/S.B. 2146: Provides for street rod and custom vehicle classifications.
West Virginia H.B. 3165: Provides a procedure for titling antique vehicles which currently do not have a title.
Wisconsin A.B. 868: Eliminates the "replica vehicle" registration classification and places these vehicles in the "homemade vehicle category."
Alabama H.B. 249: Provides licensing requirements for racetracks.
California A.B. 2592: Makes it an infraction to be a knowing spectator at a speed contest or exhibition on a public street.
Florida H.B. 1225: Prohibits drag racing on streets and parking lots; provides that the second offense in five years be a felony.
Hawaii S.B. 2339: Increases the penalty for street racing to $500-$1000, or six to 12 months in jail.
Illinois H.B. 3784: Creates the Metro-East Sports Facility Authority to study the possible construction of an auto racing facility.
Vermont H.B. 650: Permits non-oxygenated gas for racing purposes.
West Virginia S.B. 16: Authorizes county commissions to impose a "recreation and amusement2 tax on auto racing tickets.
California S.B. 1420: Provides for the testing of exhaust system noise to the 95-decibel limit.
Florida S.B. 1734: Provides for an advisory committee to oversee off-highway vehicle use on public lands.
Georgia H.B. 1048: Prohibits off-highway vehicle use on sand dunes.
Illinois H.B. 5792/S.B. 2155: Provides immunity to owners of off-road facilities from criminal noise emissions suits.
New Jersey A.B. 1366: Exempts restorers of antique and classic motor vehicles from the requirement that they provide written estimates.
New Jersey A.B. 1551: Prohibits local areas from implementing an ordinance or land use regulation that prevents automobile collectors from pursuing their hobby.
APRIL SAN CLUB EVENTS
April 6, Palm Springs
Palm Springs Follies Tour
Sponsor: Early Ford V-8 Club of America,
Baldy View Region
April 14, Anaheim
Tom's Fun Run
Sponsor: Street Rodder, Custom Rodder and Classic Trucks Magazines
April 26-28, Bakersfield
Western Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
April 6-7, Columbus
23rd Annual Columbus Spring Swap Meet
Sponsor: Mid-Ohio Ford Club
April 12-14, Oklahoma City
19th Annual Southwest Street Rod Nationals
Sponsor: National Street Rod Association
April 5-6, Brady
2nd Annual Heart of Texas Car Show and Swap Meet
Sponsor: Big Country Mustang Club
April 20, Austin
1st Annual Auto Show
Sponsor: Central Texas Rangers Car Club