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SAN Members Mobilize to Achieve Legislative Victories in 2010
The current economic and legislative environment is emboldening governments to become more aggressive with their anti-auto hobby legislation. States are seeking new avenues for generating revenue and new ways of dictating what you can and cannot do with your vehicles.
The message government is sending is clear—the hobby needs the SEMA Action Network now more than ever. The most powerful tool in protecting our hobby will always be an informed and active enthusiast. Encourage friends and fellow club members to join the SAN at www.SEMASAN.com.
SAN members from across the United States and Canada continue to play an active role in supporting hobby-friendly legislation across both countries. This yearly issue of Driving Force contains a snapshot of the victories forged this year by the SAN and its dedicated members.
California Emissions Tests: SAN defeated legislation to require annual smog-check inspections for vehicles 15 years old and older. The bill would have required that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which could have been used to scrap older cars.
California “Gas Guzzlers”: Legislation to authorize the establishment of a purchase surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions was defeated. Funds collected under the program would have been used in part to fund rebates for vehicles, including hybrids and electric cars. SAN opposed the bill because it would make popular performance and luxury cars, as well as SUVs, light trucks and minivans, substantially more expensive to own. The measure also would not necessarily curtail greenhouse gas emissions, which depend on a host of other factors, such as total miles traveled.
Colorado Emissions Exemption: SAN-opposed legislation that sought to reset to 1959 the latest model year at which a vehicle is excluded from the emissions testing process was “postponed indefinitely” by the legislature. Currently, model-year vehicles ’75 and older are exempted. Colorado’s current emissions test exemption recognizes the minimal impact of older cars on vehicle emissions and air quality.
Kansas Inoperable Vehicles: A SAN-opposed bill to allow cities and towns to enforce “nuisance abatement” procedures by notifying affected property owners by use of first-class mail instead of certified mail (with a return receipt) was withdrawn. Nuisance abatement laws are often used by local jurisdictions to force removal of inoperable vehicles, including parts cars, stored on private property by car collectors. SAN opposed the bill because without actual and verified notification, owners could risk removal of valuable collector cars and parts, especially when they are not at home to receive a first-class mailing.
Kansas Specialty Vehicle Fees: SAN convinced Kansas legislators to delete provisions from a revenue bill that increased the fees on antiques, street rods and special-interest vehicles. The language sought to raise the registration fees on these vehicles, including a $10 increase on January 1, 2013, and another $10 increase on January 1, 2014. The revenue bill, without the increased fees on hobbyist vehicles, was signed into law by Governor Mark Parkinson.
Louisiana Inspection Exemption: A SAN- supported bill to exempt antique vehicles 25 years old and older from the motor-vehicle inspection requirements was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal. Prior to the bill’s enactment, only vehicles 40 years old and older were exempted from testing. Non-exempted vehicles in Louisiana are subject to an annual vehicle inspection, including a safety-equipment inspection, and for vehicles registered in selected parishes, an additional emissions inspection.
Massachusetts Street Rods/Customs: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a version of SEMA-model legislation to create a vehicle registration classification for street rods, custom vehicles, replicas and specially constructed vehicles. Replica vehicles will be assigned a certificate of title bearing both the year in which the vehicle was built and the make, model and year of the vehicle intended to be replicated. Under the new law, street rods and custom vehicles are exempted from emissions inspection requirements. The measure also provides that specially constructed and replica vehicles, which are registered on or before April 30, 2012, will be exempted from emissions inspection requirements. If registered after April 30, 2012, these vehicles will be subject to emissions control requirements based on the model year and configuration of the engine installed, whether the engine is an original equipment manufacturer’s production engine, rebuilt engine or crate engine.
Massachusetts “Gas Guzzlers”: SAN-opposed legislation in Massachusetts to create a clean vehicle incentive program that would provide rebates to, and require additional charges from, the purchaser of new motor vehicles based on a vehicle’s greenhouse gas emissions was defeated. Such legislation affects a consumers’ ability to purchase the vehicle of choice, leading to potential safety issues and other concerns.
Massachusetts Exhaust Noise: A bill targeted for defeat by SAN to ban the “use and sale of any exhaust pipe that increases the sound emissions of any vehicle, including motorcycles,” was set aside for study by the legislature. Among other things, the measure ignored the fact that aftermarket exhaust systems are designed to make vehicles run more efficiently without increasing emissions and did not supply law enforcement with a clear standard to enforce, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether or not a modified exhaust system is in violation.
Mississippi Nitrous Oxide: Working with the Mississippi State Troopers Association, SAN successfully negotiated a compromise on legislation that originally threatened to prohibit public road use of all motor vehicles equipped to supply the engine with nitrous oxide. The bill was signed into law by Governor Haley Barbour. Originally written as an outright ban, the new law allows for the installation of nitrous-oxide systems as long as the feed lines are disconnected or the canisters are removed while the vehicle is being operated on a public road. The SAN amendment better protects public road safety while ensuring legitimate off-road uses of nitrous-oxide systems.
Nebraska Abandoned Vehicles: Legislation opposed by SAN that would have expanded the definition of “abandoned motor vehicle” to include vehicles that were left unattended for more than six hours on private property without valid plates, title or permit was not considered in the 2010 legislative session. The bill also sought to include vehicles that are inoperable, partially dismantled, wrecked, junked or discarded. Under current law, a vehicle is not considered to be abandoned on private property until it is left unattended for more than seven days. Motor vehicles are defined as abandoned for the purpose of allowing state and local authorities to remove them from private property.
New Jersey New Car Emissions Inspections: SAN-supported legislation to extend the emissions inspection exemption to vehicles five model years old or newer was signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The new law acknowledges the relatively minimal environmental impact of the vehicles targeted for this exemption and that it is senseless to test newer vehicles, the results of which demonstrate no significant air-quality benefits.
New York Taxing “Gas Guzzlers”: SAN beat back legislation to establish a progressive purchase or lease surcharge for some new motor vehicles based on state calculations of carbon emissions. Depending on the vehicle purchased, this surcharge could have required owners to pay up to $2,500 more for the vehicle. Separate legislation, also defeated, proposed to create a task force that would have recommended higher toll and registration fees for vehicles, based on weight, emissions and fuel-efficiency ratings.
North Carolina Scrappage: SAN turned back legislation that would have implemented a state vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles that are at least 14 years old. Under the program, participants would have received around $1,000–$1,500 to scrap their car and purchase a current year vehicle under 10,000 lbs. or one from the previous three model years. All trade-in vehicles would have been subject to scrappage, regardless of their historical value or collector interest.
Rhode Island Exhaust Noise Standard: Legislation to limit motorcycle exhaust noise to 92 decibels under the SAE J2825 idle test procedure failed to pass both houses of the Rhode Island Legislature. The bill originally included all motor vehicles under the same exhaust test standard and decibel limit. SAN was successful in removing motor vehicles from the scope of the bill.
Utah Aftermarket Exhaust Systems: SAN defeated a bill to ban the use of most aftermarket exhaust systems. Under the bill, all vehicles would have been required to be equipped with an exhaust system that is “installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified; or meets specifications equivalent to the muffler installed by the original manufacturer of the vehicle and is not modified.”
Vermont Inoperable Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to provide an exemption to automotive hobbyists from the restrictions on salvage yards was signed into law by Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. The new law increases the regulation of salvage yards and automobile graveyards in the state but includes a provision stipulating that hobbyists are not to be confused with the owners of automobile graveyards. The law defines an “automobile hobbyist” as a person not primarily engaged in the sale of vehicles and parts or dismantling junk vehicles. The definition of “automobile graveyard” does not include an area used by an automobile hobbyist for storage and restoration purposes, provided their activities comply with federal, state and municipal law.
Virginia Exhaust Noise: At SAN’s urging, the legislature rejected a bill to ban the sale of “any aftermarket exhaust system component” that would cause the vehicle to produce “excessive or unusual noise.” SAN recommended that Virginia adopt reasonable noise decibel limits for modified exhaust systems, which can be verified through an easy to administer test standard.
Washington Scrappage: SAN again helped turn back legislation that would have implemented a vehicle scrappage program for passenger vehicles more than 15 years old. Under the bill, qualifying vehicles would have had to be registered for a 24-month period and in satisfactory operating condition. Replacement vehicles purchased under the plan would have been required to have an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highway gasoline mileage rating of at least 30 mpg. Participants in the program were to be granted a sales-tax exemption for the first $2,000 of tax paid on the purchase price. All trade-in vehicles would have been destroyed, regardless of their historical value or collector interest.
West Virginia Exhaust Noise: A SAN-opposed bill to provide that the noise from a motor-vehicle exhaust system that has been deemed “disturbing or unreasonably loud” constitutes the crime of disturbing the peace is dead for the year. Under the bill, violators could have been fined up to $1,000 per occurrence, jailed for six months or both. Among other things, the bill did not supply law enforcement with an enforcement standard, allowing them to make subjective judgments on whether an exhaust system is “disturbing or unreasonably loud.”
Wisconsin Imported Collector Vehicles: A Wisconsin proposal to prohibit the registration of certain imported collector vehicles will not be promulgated this year thanks to SAN intervention. The measure threatened to prohibit the registration of imported vehicles manufactured after 1967 that did not meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). U.S. law specifically exempts imported vehicles that are 25 years old and older from these standards and, therefore, this rule would have been inconsistent with federal law prohibiting the registration of vehicles coming in from other states that have already been proven safe on U.S. roads.
Wisconsin Military Vehicles: SAN-supported legislation to provide for the registration of former military vehicles was signed into law by Governor Jim Doyle. The new law defines a former military vehicle as one that was manufactured for use in any country’s military force, so long as it is maintained to accurately represent the military design and markings. The designation would include military vehicles designed both for off- and on-road use, including trailers. The law allows former military vehicles that are 25 years old and older to be registered and operated in a manner similar to antique vehicles (driven on special occasions and not as a daily driver).
Collector Car Appreciation Day: At SAN’s request, U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) co-sponsored Senate Resolution 513 designating July 9, 2010, as “Collector Car Appreciation Day.” To celebrate, SAN members across the country gathered to recognize the value in collecting and restoring historic and classic cars. Car clubs, enthusiast organizations and affiliated businesses hosted more than 100 events in more than 40 states to commemorate the day. Events ranged from car cruises to small-business open houses and product giveaways. The SAN is seeking to have another resolution introduced for a second annual event in 2011.
Ethanol Content in Gasoline: The EPA confirmed that there is insufficient test data to permit E15 to be used in model-year ’00 and older light-duty motor vehicles. The SAN has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation, which can create formic acid that corrodes metals, plastics and rubber. On October 13, the EPA issued a waiver to permit the use of E15 in ’07 and newer model-year vehicles. The agency is still gathering data to determine whether to permit its use in ’01–’06 model year vehicles. The EPA’s ruling responds to a request from the ethanol industry to raise the ethanol content in gasoline from 10% to 15%. The SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.
OHVs and Land Use: A number of wilderness bills were introduced and considered in Congress during 2010, but all are expected to die at the end of the session. A U.S. Department of the Interior document released earlier this year indicated that the agency could designate 14 new or expanded national monuments covering 13 million acres in the western United States. Unlike wilderness designations, national monuments permit motorized recreation within their boundaries. However, closing off-highway vehicle (OHV) roads and trails can be an unintended byproduct of the designation. Targeted lands include popular OHV areas, such as the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa (Utah), Berryessa Snow Mountains and Bodie Hills (California) and parts of the Great Basin (Nevada). The SAN opposes unnecessarily restrictive land-use policies and has urged Congress, states and local communities to take an active role in participating in land use decisions.
Canada (Prince Edward Island) Nitrous Oxide: The province of Prince Edward Island enacted a new law to permit the installation of nitrous-oxide systems as long as the feed lines are disconnected or the canisters are removed while the vehicle is being operated on a public road. The law largely mirrors SEMA-model legislation to better protect public road safety while ensuring legitimate off-road uses of nitrous-oxide systems.
Canada Leaded Fuel Exemption: Environment Canada issued a SAN-supported final rule to indefinitely extend an exemption allowing the use of leaded gasoline in competition motor vehicles. The new rule recognizes the relationship between the Canadian and U.S. racing industries and adopts a consistent environmental approach to leaded fuel use. Environment Canada will conduct a five-year review and revisit the exemption issue if necessary based on science, technology and fuel replacement developments. Meanwhile, Environment Canada will work with the racing industry to encourage a voluntary reduction or phase-out of leaded racing fuel.
HEY, THAT’S MY CAR!
A New Generation Keeps on Truckin’
1985 GMC Sierra Classic 1500
Owner: Jason Amershek
My parents bought the truck for $4,000 around fall of 2005, bone stock. They used it as a daily driver, as it was our only vehicle. Then a year or so later, the transmission failed, and it sat in the yard for two years. When I turned 15, I began to take an interest in the old truck and getting it running again so that I would be able to drive it when I got my license. My dad agreed to let me—then age 15—remove the transmission and work on getting it rebuilt.
After a little reading and guidance, we got it running. My dad helped me install an Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold with a 1-inch aluminum spacer in place of the stock cast intake and Rochester carb. It was such a great feeling to turn the key and have that old engine roar to life after sitting in our yard for those two years. I used it around the yard for a year or so, got it registered again and was able to use it in my road test. After passing the test, I got my license and have since installed a rebuilt ’73 GM 350 engine, new rims and tires, 4-inch stacks in the bed, a mild cam, Flow-Tech headers, along with many other modifications. I now use this truck every day. I have made it to be a powerful, reliable and good-looking ride, and I am very proud of all the hard work I have done on it. At 17, I have put a few thousand dollars of my own money into this vehicle. I can’t thank my parents enough for all the help and encouragement they have given me. The next major thing I want to do is a paint job, but I can’t afford it yet. So, I will get out the Turtle Wax and a rag and make it look the best it can which, I think, isn’t too bad.
State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus Dinner SEMA Show 2010
Members of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus gathered this past November to enjoy the hobby’s biggest annual event, the SEMA Show. In attendance were Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, Nevada Senator Mark Manendo, California Assemblymember Felipe Fuentes, California Assemblyman Curt Hagman, California Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, Nevada Senator Mo Denis, New York Assemblyman (Caucus Chairman) Bill Reilich, Wyoming Representative Stan Blake and Montana Senator John Brueggeman.
It’s Not Just the Cars. It’s the People.
Porsche Club of America Adds German Accent to the SAN
Members of the Porsche Club of America celebrate the finer things in life. They desire the comfort of good friends and good conversation and praise to a fault what the club believes to be the world’s finest automobile. With those attributes, the club has grown to 139 regions throughout the United States and Canada. It is the largest single marque car club in the world with more than 104,000 members.
Club members bond over racing, showing off their prized possessions and conducting rallies, autocrosses and tours. The club sponsors driver education, restoration and technical sessions. These guys and gals know their Porsche (or Porsches, if they’re lucky!) inside and out. The club even has an award-winning monthly magazine, Porsche Panorama, to tell their stories and provide an insider’s view to everything Porsche.
The Porsche experience reaches across the cars and the years to people, binding together the family whose name the cars bear, the men and women who design and build them, and those across the world who drive and cherish them. In addition to its benefits, Porsche Club of America provides camaraderie second to none. Each year, the Club hosts its annual convention, the Porsche Parade, a week-long extravaganza of car and social events that attracts roughly 2,000 people a year.
For more information, visit www.pca.org.
December 4–5, San Jose
San Jose Classics & Customs Indoor Car Show
December 5, Stockton
Swap Meet & Car Show at San Joaquin County Fairgrounds
December 5, Folsom
Cruisin’ For Kids Christmas Toy Run
December 17–19, Long Beach
International Motorcycle Show
Information: 800/331-5706 or http://www.motorcycleshows.com/LongBeach
December 5, Enfield
Auto Flea Market
December 4, Calhoun
Christmas in Paradise for the Kids of Gordon County Car Show
Sponsor: North GA Hotrods & Paradise Drag Strip
Information: 706/278-2846 or 706/260-8131
December 4, Brownsburg
8th Annual Blanket Run at GodSpeed
December 4–5, Baltimore
21st Annual Indoor East Coast Nationals
December 12, Baltimore Highlands
Christmas Breakfast & Car Show
Sponsor: Street Survivors of MD
Information: 410/761-1927 or 410/437-5968
December 2, Roseburg
“1st Thursday” Cruise-In
Sponsor: The Stray Angels
Information: 541/672-2359 or http://www.strayangelscarclub.com
December 5, Houston
28th Annual Los Magnificos Lowrider Car Show & Concert
Sponsor: 97.9 THE BOX
Upcoming January 2011 Events
January 1, Sacramento
Annual New Year’s Day Drag Racing
January 8, Stockton
Circle Track Trade Show and Swap Meet
January 29–30, Turlock
Turlock Swap Meet
Sponsor: The Modesto Area A’s
January 8, Lake Worth
10th Annual Fords and Friends Meet
Sponsor: Early Ford V-8 Club
Information: 561/712-9252 or email@example.com
January 9, Sunrise
5th Annual Open Car & Truck Show
Sponsor: Renegade Corvette Club
Information: 954/980-2670 or http://www.renegadecorvetteclub.com
January 15–16, Miami
Art Deco Weekend Car Festival
Sponsor: AACA South Florida Region
January 22, Cambridge
Winter Parts Meet
Sponsor: AACA Bay County Region
Information: 410/228-5252 or firstname.lastname@example.org
January 28–30, Albuquerque
20th Annual Supernationals Custom Auto Show
Information: 505/269-0496 or http://www.thesupernationals.com or email@example.com
January 8–10, Chattanooga
43rd Annual Chattanooga World of Wheels Custom Auto Show
Sponsor: McLean MotorSports Productions