SEMA Federal Legislative Priorities: 2022

RPM Act:

SEMA is working with key members of Congress to pass the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act” (RPM Act), H.R. 3281 and S. 2736, which clarifies that it is legal to make emissions-related changes to a street vehicle for the purpose of converting it into a racecar used exclusively in competition. The RPM Act would also confirm in Federal law that it is legal to produce, market and install racing equipment. SEMA is urging its members and all racing enthusiasts to contact their members of Congress and them to support the bill. To send a letter to your members of Congress (it takes less than 30 seconds), visit www.sema.org/rpm.

Support for the Recognizing the RPM Act continues to strengthen as members of Congress receive an outpouring of support for the bill from racers and the motorsports parts industry. The racing community sent over 1.5 million letters to Congress in the last year, which have been integral in generating strong bipartisan support for the RPM Act (over 150 members of Congress are cosponsoring the bill as a result). However, we need your help now more than ever. We must ramp up the pressure on lawmakers in Washington to pass the RPM Act in 2022 and protect the future of racing!

Background: In July 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inserted a provision into the proposed greenhouse gas rule for trucks and buses stating that the Clean Air Act (CAA) prohibits emissions system modifications to motor vehicles that are converted for racing. The language also provided the EPA with the authority to regulate race products which can be installed on highway vehicles. While the EPA removed the provision from the final greenhouse gas rule, the agency continues to assert that it has the authority to regulate race parts and its position that converted street vehicles are illegal. Congress must pass the RPM Act to provide certainty to the racing community that the hobby will be preserved.

Electric Vehicle Mandates:

Reducing tailpipe emissions is a top priority for the Biden Administration and the environmental community. Central to this goal is increasing fuel efficiency standards, which the Administration plans to achieve by increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). While the sales of EVs are rapidly expanding, it is imperative that consumers have a choice over whether they drive a vehicle with an internal combustion engine or an EV. Policymakers should let the free market determine the adoption of EVs.

Right to Repair & Modify Vehicles: 

Ensuring that SEMA member companies have access to data needed to design and produce products that customize motor vehicles is a top priority. Recently, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) introduced the SEMA-supported ‘Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R. 6570). The legislation will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace, and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 288 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles. The REPAIR Act preserves consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced. The REPAIR Act also ensures that all tools and equipment, wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data, and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry. 

As vehicle technology continues to advance, new barriers to a competitive auto repair market are emerging. These barriers limit consumer choice in where to repair their motor vehicles and increase the cost to repair and maintain vehicles. The REPAIR Act will reduce these barriers, putting consumers’ interests first. 

Vehicle Technology:

Advanced Drivers Assistance Systems (ADAS) are active and passive safety performance technologies that assist drivers and automate vehicle systems. ADAS gather information and helps to improve driving safety through features such as electronic stability control, forward-collision warning, lane departure, advanced braking, and adaptive cruise control. Vehicle sensors track speed, location, and other conditions about the vehicle being driven. Automakers are integrating passive and active ADAS technologies into new cars, as these driver assistance features are expected to reduce automotive injuries and accidents. ADAS presents a significant opportunity for aftermarket retrofitting and new vehicle upgrades. However, it is imperative that enthusiasts and aftermarket business can modify vehicles with ADAS technology.

Anti-Counterfeiting:

Protecting members’ intellectual property (IP) rights has always been a SEMA priority. There has been a steep rise in the sale of counterfeit automotive parts on online marketplaces, posing a threat to the safety of U.S. consumers. Initiatives include the SEMA Show IP enforcement policy along with webinars, seminars, and an IP webpage on how to secure IP rights (registration of patents, trademarks, copyright, etc.). A recent study published by the Buy Safe America Coalition found that illegitimate imports entering the U.S. cost domestic retailers nearly $54.1 billion in sales annually, and more than 39,000 jobs in wholesaling and 280,000 retail jobs—paying more than $13.6 billion in wages and benefits to workers—were lost because of counterfeit production. For years, SEMA has joined forces with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, NAM, MEMA, Auto Care and other groups to expand IP protection through legislation along with better collaboration on enforcement by Customs, FBI, Patent and Trademark Office, etc. The SAN supports Congress passing legislation to require e-commerce platforms to strengthen upfront screening of potential vendors. Key elements include: 

  • Collect and verify key information (identity, address, and contact information and bank account information) prior to vendor listing. 
  • Require potential vendors to attest, with appropriate proof, that the goods sold are authentic, authorized, and have appropriate legal documentation required for sale in the United States where necessary.
  • Conduct due diligence, including use of appropriate technology, to screen for counterfeit products

E15 Ethanol:

Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, causing damage to high-performance parts and older vehicles manufactured prior to 2001 that were constructed without ethanol-resistant materials. The EPA has approved the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for use in 2001 and newer vehicles while making it illegal to fuel older cars and motorcycles based on evidence that it could cause damage to those vehicles and engines.  The issue is especially problematic since the EPA only requires a gas pump warning label, which may be inadequate to prevent misfueling by motorists unfamiliar with potential E15 harm.  SEMA opposes expanding the availability of E15 to year-round.

Bonneville Salt Flats:

The Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) are a national treasure and unique resource of international significance central to the history of motorsports. Hundreds of land speed records have been set there in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes. However, the BSF have significantly decreased in size since the 1960s when the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued leases allowing salt brine to be channeled away to an adjoining potash mine. To address this ongoing issue, SEMA helped organize the Save the Salt Coalition, companies and organizations with a vested interest in protecting the BSF. The BLM and Utah DNR signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2020 to jointly pursue restoration efforts. The program, which SEMA calls Restore Bonneville, will be managed by DNR, in conjunction with the BLM, and operated by Intrepid Potash. 

The summer 2021 installation of the new water well and equipment to measure water evaporation rates and collect scientific data represented a tangible start to the ambitious restoration effort. The program will seek to identify the best ways to take advantage of the salt laydown and study the effects on the salt crust and underlying brine aquifer. For example, the program will consider ways to contain the salt within the large pumping area. If current research proves beneficial, efforts may be extended into the future upon funding availability. The Restore Bonneville program pumping upgrades will be largely funded through federal and State of Utah appropriations. For more information, visit www.savethesalt.org, a website maintained by SEMA.    

OHVs and Land Use Legislation:

Maintaining off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to public lands is a top priority for the SAN. Threats to off-highway vehicle (OHV) access typically take form in legislation passed by Congress or regulations issued by the BLM, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and other federal and state agencies. The actions threaten recreational access, designate lands as “wilderness” (roadless) or “National Monuments,” or unnecessarily close lands to protect endangered species. Public land access issues are of keen interest to off-roaders. SEMA supports land-use policies that expand responsible OHV recreational opportunities and opposes land use policies that limit access, such as wilderness and national monument designations. For additional information, please click on the following link: Off Roading

National Monuments:

Under the Antiquities Act, a law dating back more than 100 years, the President of the United States has the authority to declare public land with “historic or scientific interest” to be a National Monument. While a National Monument designation does not immediately close any roads, it prohibits new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and will require drafting of a new land management plan. Under this law, hundreds of millions of acres have been set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. SEMA supports legislation that would require approval by the U.S. Congress and impacted state legislature to establish a National Monument. 

“Outdoor Recreation” Economy:

SEMA and over 25 other trade associations have established the “Outdoor Recreation Roundtable” (ORR) to showcase outdoor recreation as being a key contributor to the nation’s economy. ORR works to promote federal policy and legislative reforms needed to increase recreational access, which helps to grow the outdoor recreation economy—estimated to be $689 billion annually and supporting an estimated 4.3 million jobs. SEMA’s focus is on expanding motorized recreation access for 4-wheel, ATVs, UTVs, etc. The specialty automotive aftermarket is produces products needed to tow RVs, trailers, boats, and off-road vehicles, including suspension, wheels, tires, increased horsepower, etc. For more information: Outdoor Recreation Roundtable

Congressional Automotive Performance and Motorsports Caucus:

The Caucus was formed in 1996 in honor of the 100th year of the American automobile and to recognize the contributions the automotive performance and motorsports industry has made to the U.S. economy. This informal and bi-partisan Congressional Caucus, which now has over 70 members, pays tribute to America’s ever-growing love affair with the car, motorsports and the specialty auto parts industry. Consumer sales of motor vehicle performance, appearance, comfort, convenience, and technology products total $45 billion in annually, while providing jobs for more than one million Americans. In its 26-year history, the Caucus is serving to raise the industry’s profile on Capitol Hill and in the eyes of the public. The Caucus does not seek to reach a consensus on legislative issues. For more information on joining the "Motorsports Caucus,” please contact Christian Robinson at ChristianR@sema.org.

Collector Car Appreciation Day:

July 9, 2021, marked the 12th consecutive year that Congress has commemorated "Collector Car Appreciation Day" with a resolution. This annual event raises awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. The resolution noted that “the collection and restoration of historic and classic cars is an important part of preserving the technological achievements and cultural heritage of the United States.” With the support of SEMA and the SEMA Action Network (SAN), car clubs, enthusiast organizations, and affiliated businesses hosted more than 140 official events to commemorate the day. Events ranged from car cruises to small-business open houses and product giveaways.  The next CCAD is scheduled for Friday, July 8, 2022, and SEMA will be working with the U.S. Senate to pass a CCAD resolution to honor the event. For more information: Collector Car Appreciation Day

Tariffs:

While SEMA supports taking actions against unfair trade practices, tariffs are a blunt instrument for dealing with trade disputes and often have unexpected and unwelcome consequences. Beyond imposing a tax on trade, tariffs create downstream price spikes, hoarding, marketplace confusion and supply chain disruption. Although the intent may be to use the tariffs as bargaining chips in trade negotiations, they have already inflicted harm on many SEMA members who are now faced with trying to absorb higher prices. The U.S. government has imposed tariffs on imported steel (25%), aluminum (10%), and tariffs on $550 billion worth of Chinese products (25%). SEMA urges the president and lawmakers to use other mechanisms available under U.S. trade law to combat unfair trade.  

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