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Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
3/3/21 11:28 a.m.

Just saw it on FB.

TL:DR- PRI files brief over the continued implementation of clean air act standards disallowing the conversion of road cars to race cars.

https://www.performanceracing.com/magazine/industry-news/03-02-2021/pri-challenges-epas-motorsports-regulations-court?fbclid=IwAR1jSN5ybiZAO3Z21BOmlZQlq1TMeQViZtY1NeHCl7f7ap1A4z3hLtQyUHY

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
3/3/21 7:04 p.m.

The only thing here EPA has authority over in this case is clean air standards - i.e. the removal of cats and emissions defeat devices... NOT someone putting a cage in a car and not registering it. 

That said, it would be unenforceable anyhow unless they plan to X-ray cats on a car at a track to verify if they're gutted or something. 

This sounds more like EPA taking on manufacturers that sell emissions defeat devices by putting "for off-road use only" on them knowning full well most will be used on public roads - NOT EPA going after Joe Blow's track Miata (they gonna inspect it at a private track, or in a person's garage? I think not).

And if EPA were to magically figure out a way to actually enforce this against the weekend racer (IMO, not remotely possible)....boo hoo. If everyone has them on their race cars, there's no competitive advantage/disadvantage anyhow. Hell, every stage rally car in this country has (or is supposed to have) cats, whether that be my beater e30 or Patrana's STi. 

The argument that "well, it's always been that way" is idiotic. Professional racers also used to race with laughable cages, virtually no safety gear, and so on. Times change, roll with it or get left behind.  

 

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/3/21 7:23 p.m.

In reply to irish44j (Forum Supporter) :

I wish that I could thumbs up react more than once. 

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress Reader
3/4/21 7:24 a.m.

Extended tl;dr

-EPA is going after a company called Gear Box Z that makes emissions defeat devices for diesels

-Gear Box Z says their stuff is intended for offroad use only, but EPA is saying the burden of proof is on them to prove it. From a brief google search GBZ's stuff is used pretty extensively for on-road vehicles.

-At some point an EPA lawyer said, "An EPA-certified motor vehicle does not somehow disappear from the jurisdiction of the CAA if it is used exclusively for competition motorsports. Likewise, aftermarket defeat devices remain subject to the CAA prohibition when they are manufactured and sold, or purportedly manufactured and sold, for motor vehicles that may be used exclusively for competition motorsports"

-The above argument triggered an amicus brief from PRI/SEMA. The brief argues that competition-only vehicles are out of bounds for EPA and that the EPA can't shift the burden of proof onto the companies.

My interpretation:

If the argument in quotes from the EPA wasn't just a lawyer having a brain fart in court, then it does appear the EPA is going beyond historical interpretation of the law regarding competition vehicles. No clue regarding the burden of proof, which is the more interesting argument in my mind.

Maybe more knowledgeable people will jump in.

Lawsuit-EPA vs. GBZ: https://www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Emissions-cheating.pdf

Amicus Brief from PRI: https://www.performanceracing.com/sites/default/files/magazine/89-1.pdf

 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 7:45 a.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

I would not call it a historical interpretation, but an intentional exclusion for race cars.  Which is being closed thanks to the abuse of the exclusion.

BTW, it should be pointed out that it covers certified vehicles- so specific built race car that is not made for the road is not covered.  So your 1998 BMW M3 that was certified is covered no matter where it's driven, but a Formula BMW using the same powertrain is not.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress Reader
3/4/21 8:00 a.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I loosely followed Keith's thread from a few weeks ago, so not an expert here. 

But I thought that even after the EPA's latest memo non-titled cars, even ones that began life as certified vehicles, were still out of bounds for emissions enforcement?

If that is incorrect, was it the last EPA memo that changed things, or is it the EPA vs. GBZ lawsuit where the EPA is making a new interpretation of the law?

FMB42
FMB42 New Reader
3/4/21 8:06 a.m.

Imo, the only thing any manufacturer can do is to state very clearly that the product they're selling is for 'Off Road Use Only'. That some buyers disregard this is their problem and not that of the manufacturer. The bottom line, again in imo, is that such violations should be caught during the annual inspection of licensed for the road vehicles. Seems to me that, in this case, the EPA is overstepping the authority given to the agency. I'll be interesting to see what the outcome is.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 8:10 a.m.

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

Where the EPA decides to draw the line is the big question.  

The problem with the hypothetical car that was not titled is that parts are made that fit cars that are titled and driven on the road.  And then sold to said cars.  And it's not the car owner/driver that is out of bounds, it's the maker of the part- and is selling it across state borders.

If there's a 100% of the parts will never be used on the road, I doubt anyone will care.  If 50% of those parts are used on road, that's a problem.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 8:12 a.m.
FMB42 said:

Imo, the only thing any manufacturer can do is to state very clearly that the product they're selling is for 'Off Road Use Only'. That some buyers disregard this is their problem and not that of the manufacturer. The bottom line, again in imo, is that such violations should be caught during the annual inspection of licensed for the road vehicles. Seems to me that, in this case, the EPA is overstepping the authority given to the agency. I'll be interesting to see what the outcome is.

One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case.  The EPA does have that authority.

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/4/21 8:19 a.m.

One problem is that vehicle inspections are state regulations and vary greatly. I've never had a vehicle inspected in my life. This discussion could lead to national inspection requirements for registered vehicles, which is its own bear. 

We see this in industry all the time. If an industry knows it has an issue and fails to self regulate then the government will step in and regulate for them. Right or wrong, the government will put the burden on the manufacturer instead of the end user because there are infinitely more individuals to regulate than there are companies. It's impossible to MAKE a customer use an emissions defeat device correctly, but the way those products are advertised or represented goes a long way and the "wink, wink, nudge nudge" nature of "offroad use only" has been asking for trouble. In the end if the industry doesn't take it seriously they'll shoot themselves in the foot. And as usual, a few bad actors can make it rain crap down on everyone. 

FMB42
FMB42 New Reader
3/4/21 8:23 a.m.

"One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case."

That would be impossible to impose regardless of the product.

No Time
No Time SuperDork
3/4/21 8:48 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to CrustyRedXpress :

Where the EPA decides to draw the line is the big question.  

The problem with the hypothetical car that was not titled is that parts are made that fit cars that are titled and driven on the road.  And then sold to said cars.  And it's not the car owner/driver that is out of bounds, it's the maker of the part- and is selling it across state borders.

If there's a 100% of the parts will never be used on the road, I doubt anyone will care.  If 50% of those parts are used on road, that's a problem.

Not to flounder, but this seems to avoid personal responsibility. It's not very different from trying to sue Budweiser because someone drove drunk, or suing Smith & Wesson because someone was shot using one of their products. Should they be responsible for how their customer uses the product?

The shop that installs the "off road use only" equipment on a car that is registered for road use should be accountable for their actions and fined/punished accordingly. 

The same should apply to the vehicle owner, if they install it themselves they should be fined/punished. 

I will admit that the use of "off road only" products on road driven vehicles is a foreseeable misuse that has been pretty much ignored. Im sure there are approaches that could be taken to reduce the potential for misuse. I know I've had to sign affidavits when purchasing certain products, acknowledging that they were to be used for a specific purpose. While that doesn't prevent misuse, it removes the ability to claim ignorance.  

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
3/4/21 8:59 a.m.
FMB42 said:

"One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case."

That would be impossible to impose regardless of the product.

And that's why the feds will go after the manufacturer than the end user. If the product can't be made, it can't be used.

My biggest complaint is that the feds will enact all this bs but then go say "you'll figure it out." when there are no parts and it's financially impractical for anybody to get parts certified to fix those vehicles. Vehicles just now can easily last 15yrs on the whole, if just minimally maintained. Ford, for my example, has always obsoleted parts after 9 yrs or sooner if the sales of that parts falls to a limit that doesn't make sense to keep inventory. What happens in that situation? Typically it becomes "worthless" or it ventures to places where nobody cares about the problem.

I just wish the "absolutes" would shut up and use a brain cell or three and have a solution to a problem that really does but doesn't exist. On the whole, US has some of the cleanest air ever, but yet we are chasing fractions of fractions where other countries still don't give a rats rearend about anything citing "we poor. You pay." We, as a country, are in a pretty good sweet spot with the current emission culture as is.

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress Reader
3/4/21 9:20 a.m.
FMB42 said:

"One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case."

That would be impossible to impose regardless of the product.

No, it's not. Requiring companies that sell products to take some level of responsibility is well established. Grocery stores have to check ID when selling drugs like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or face penalities. Pawn shops get punnished for straw purchases of firearms. Pretty sure restrictions exist for buying large amounts of fertilizer or other explosives as well.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 9:23 a.m.
FMB42 said:

"One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case."

That would be impossible to impose regardless of the product.

There's a very definable way of proving that the parts can meet the certification requirements.  That makes the part legal to sell.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 9:28 a.m.

In reply to No Time :

Hoping for "personal responsibility" sounds all fine and dandy.  But it has not worked all that well. The whole original exception was based on that premise.  And has ended thanks to rather blatant and obvious flaunting of the rules.  On a legal basis, the EPA has the power over the makers of parts, states and local municipalities have the power over the users.

Bar owners are held responsible if one of their patrons get drunk and goes out and kills someone.  Not as harshly as the driver, but they are part of the equation.

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
3/4/21 9:54 a.m.

Can we just let the EPA take out the brodozers already? Automotive enthusiasts are the least of anyone problems. If we just stop wringing our hands we will be rid of these coal rolling garbage sacks. It won't affect our cars. We won't lose our parts.

They can't just target brodozers. That would be targeting a particular group. So the law must be generalized to get rid of these creeps selling cancer fogging devices for overcompensating diesel trucks. 

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 10:09 a.m.

I am fine with emissions controls still existing on competition cars, especially ones that started life as road cars. Maybe Spec Pinata won't drone so much.

I am especially on board if it means no more coal-rolling trucks. I swear I'm getting lung cancer from those E36 M3 heads.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 10:11 a.m.
Vajingo said:

Can we just let the EPA take out the brodozers already? Automotive enthusiasts are the least of anyone problems. If we just stop wringing our hands we will be rid of these coal rolling garbage sacks. It won't affect our cars. We won't lose our parts.

They can't just target brodozers. That would be targeting a particular group. So the law must be generalized to get rid of these creeps selling cancer fogging devices for overcompensating diesel trucks. 

And that's the important part.  It has to be equal enforcement for everyone, otherwise it's not equal.  Sucks, for sure.  

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/4/21 10:28 a.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

There's a very definable way of proving that the parts can meet the certification requirements.  That makes the part legal to sell.

I just need a simple way for my non emissions compliant part to prove it was inherently used on a competition vehicle by its nature so I don't have to keep track of paperwork. cool

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 11:00 a.m.
FMB42 said:

Imo, the only thing any manufacturer can do is to state very clearly that the product they're selling is for 'Off Road Use Only'. That some buyers disregard this is their problem and not that of the manufacturer. The bottom line, again in imo, is that such violations should be caught during the annual inspection of licensed for the road vehicles. Seems to me that, in this case, the EPA is overstepping the authority given to the agency. I'll be interesting to see what the outcome is.

Nope, because nobody is naive enough to believe that the "for off road use only" statement is binding. It has been made very clear that this is not sufficient.

There ARE ways to ensure parts only get sold for competition vehicles. Mazda's Team Support program is a good one. Before you can buy certain parts, you have to prove that you have a competition car and/or are building one. It's not that hard and it works. Maybe not to 100% accuracy but even 95% is pretty good. And yes, the EPA can go after companies that are selling emissions defeat devices as they are intended specifically to bypass the emissions controls. 

The EPA is going after the manufacturers because shutting down one manufacturer is the equivalent of catching hundreds or thousands of individual vehicles. The analogy of selling alcohol is a good one. 

The EPA says "it doesn't matter if you're operating that vehicle on public roads or not." That's the crux of the matter. What's special about street cars that have been turned into competition cars? Well, fundamentally nothing from a pollution standpoint.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 11:01 a.m.
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) said:
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

There's a very definable way of proving that the parts can meet the certification requirements.  That makes the part legal to sell.

I just need a simple way for my non emissions compliant part to prove it was inherently used on a competition vehicle by its nature so I don't have to keep track of paperwork. cool

Make the seller prove to you that he/she/they/it/whatever is building a competition car that the product will fit, and only sell to people who have undergone this vetting process. That'll help a lot.

Oh, and don't sell things that spoof the OBD system or delete emissions controls.

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 HalfDork
3/4/21 11:17 a.m.
CrustyRedXpress said:
FMB42 said:

"One thing that is clear- it's the manufacturers responsibility that their part is used as intended for this case."

That would be impossible to impose regardless of the product.

No, it's not. Requiring companies that sell products to take some level of responsibility is well established. Grocery stores have to check ID when selling drugs like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or face penalities. Pawn shops get punnished for straw purchases of firearms. Pretty sure restrictions exist for buying large amounts of fertilizer or other explosives as well.

Yes but this isn't a restriction on selling but a restriction on use. Like holding a liquor store accountable for someone of legal age buying alcohol for their little brother. Its not illegal to sell it to the older brother, but its the older brother's fault for giving it to his under age brother. 

If the EPA made sale of non-certified parts illegal for ALL uses, that would put the vendor in full fault. This basically would give the EPA authority for non registered race cars which would effectively kill a large portion of the vehicles in use at racetracks today in my uneducated review of google searches.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/4/21 11:25 a.m.

That's the fundamental disconnect. 

The EPA says it doesn't matter WHERE you operate your vehicle or for what purpose. 

PRI says "but race cars are different".

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress Reader
3/4/21 11:38 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

That's the fundamental disconnect. 

The EPA says it doesn't matter WHERE you operate your vehicle or for what purpose. 

PRI says "but race cars are different".

Still trying to get an answer on this. Is a non-titled, not street legal car, which started life as a EPA certified vehicle, illegal to use at a local auto-x based on EPA regulations?

If yes, is this a new interpretation based on the EPA memo that came out a few weeks ago, or is the EPA making this argument for the first time in this suit?

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