Photo courtesy SEMA.
Some of the largest legislative issues of concern to collector car enthusiasts – among them the Environmental Protection Agency’s racecar ruling and the spread of ethanol-blended fuels – will be up for discussion as the Specialty Equipment Market Association gathers its members for a rally next month in Washington, D.C.
The rally – a biennial event that SEMA has hosted since 1996 – comes at a time of both challenge and reward for SEMA. The reward is reflected in SEMA’s choice for keynote speakers, Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma and Rep. Gene Green of Texas, who co-sponsored the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015. The act, which Congress enacted in December as part of a $305 billion highway funding bill, eased restrictions on replica car builders, essentially allowing them to produce a limited number of cars in complete form as opposed to kit form.
Other issues facing the $36 billion automotive aftermarket parts industry haven’t received such clear-cut resolutions, however. SEMA’s dispute with the EPA over a pending EPA regulatory ruling concerning the use of emissions equipment on competition vehicles, for instance, remains near the top of the agenda for the rally.
While the White House last week responded to the more than 168,000 signers of the We The People petition created to put a stop to the EPA’s ruling, it deferred taking a position on the issue, only noting that the EPA “is carefully considering the many public comments it received.”
The EPA’s final ruling on the issue is expected in July. SEMA-backed bills that would place competition vehicles beyond the EPA’s reach have been introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Also near the top of the agenda will be the Renewable Fuel Standard and the resulting amounts of ethanol blended into the nation’s fuel supply. SEMA, which opposes the sale of E15 ethanol-blended fuel, has thrown its support behind legislation that caps the amount of ethanol blended into fuel at 10 percent and that stipulates the ethanol blended into fuel comes from sources other than corn.
In addition to the racecar and ethanol issues, a SEMA spokesperson said the rally will include discussion on “pursuing a pro-growth manufacturing and job creation agenda, creating access to small business loans and credit, finding affordable health insurance options for employees, countering burdensome vehicle equipment regulations, and combating counterfeit products.”
The Washington, D.C., rally will take place May 11. For more information, visit SEMA.org.