Bloomberg is reporting that California Governor Jerry Brown is considering ways to ban the sale of vehicles that use internal combustion engines – a move that could have massive implications not only for vehicle sales, the environment, but potentially the motorcycle industry as well.
Still in the early days of consideration, the news comes from remarks made by Mary Nichols, who is the Chairman of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and her remarks and relaying of thought from Gov. Brown don’t make it clear if the ban would apply only to passenger vehicles, or if it would include modes of transportation like trucks, commercial vehicles, and motorcycles.
However, the move mimics similar bans that we have already seen in places like China, and follows a trend that is catching on in European countries too, with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and The Netherlands all recently announcing similar efforts and goals to block the sale of internal combustion vehicles in the coming decades.
Remember last year when Harley-Davidson had a Brinks truck dropped on them, for performance tuner kits that failed to comply with EPA emission regulations for street motorcycles?
At the time, the government was looking for $12 million in cash for penalties, as well as another $3 million in emissions mitigation, in the form of Harley-Davidson paying to retrofit or replace wood-burning appliances with cleaner stoves.
Now, an article from Reuters is reporting that Harley-Davidson won’t have to spend that $3 million dollars, as the Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to drop the penalty.
The United States of America is taking a Suzuki Motor America employee to court, over allegations that he lied in documents to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of his job with Suzuki, which included filing reports to the US government.
The court filing, made with the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on June 2nd, alleges that Wayne Powell violated Title 42 of the US Code § 7413 (c)(2)(A) when he knowingly made false statements in an application for a “certificate of conformity” that was required as part of the Clean Air Act.
In those alleged false statements, the US government says that Powell altered production numbers by Suzuki for the 2012 model year, so that the company would not be over its allotment for allowed emissions.
A bill has been presented to the United States House of Representatives that would seek the closure of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) by 2018.
Sent to Congress just last Friday, the text to H.R. 861 has not been published yet by the Government Publishing Office (the service usually takes a day or two), so details are light at this point in time on the bill’s fine-strokes.
However the writer of the bill, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R – Florida), has been clear in his statements to media outlets and on Twitter that the EPA is a burden on companies; individual states would be better at handling environmental issues than the federal government; and that abolishing the EPA would create more jobs.
H.R. 861 is co-sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (R – Kentucky), Rep. Steven Palazzo (R – Mississippi), and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R – Georgia) – all three co-sponsors have voiced notable opposition to the EPA in the past, and this bill comes at a time when the EPA is already slated to get a massive budget reduction by the Trump administration.
General politics aside, HB 861 will likely be a mixed bag for motorcycle enthusiasts, as it will deregulate environmental restrictions set at the federal level, leaving states to draft or adopt their own provisions, which will likely have a fracturing effect on the regulatory market for motorcycles.
But, it will also mean the abolition of EPA regulations that many motorcyclists oppose, like the blending of ethanol in our fuel, and restrictions on noise, emissions, and vehicle modifications.
If you have a modified track-only motorcycle, then we have some news to share that you will enjoy, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has withdrawn proposed language that would have specifically given it the ability to regulate the emissions of production vehicles that were being used at track days or similar events.
The proposed rule caused quite a storm in automotive enthusiast circles, as it would have affected racing and recreational uses of products that have been sold under “race use only” provisions for years. Of course, the larger issue at stake here was the continued selling of race parts to street enthusiasts.
Still, since it is hard to find a motorcycle on the road these days that hasn’t seen its emissions equipment modified, it doesn’t surprise us to see the backlash coming from the motorcycling community.
Are you waiting for a 2016 model year motorcycle that hasn’t arrived yet? You might have Volkswagen to blame.
Asphalt & Rubber has been contacted by several motorcycle manufacturers who have said that their new-for-2016 models are being held up by mountainous paperwork requests, both from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The paperwork requests seem to be an across the board effort by the EPA and CARB to check for emission irregularities in the filings from automobile OEMs on their new models, an effort which has included motorcycle manufacturers as well.
But why the fine-toothed comb? The answer is because of the Volkswagen diesel emissions fiasco from last year, the desire not to have another “Dieselgate” scandal.
We are finally seeing some movement from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in regards to the EPA’s proposed regulations against converting street vehicles for racing purposes and the sale of aftermarket “race use only” parts.
Today, the AMA published a press release detailing much of the same information we brought you yesterday about the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2016 – better known as the RPM Act.
In its press release, the AMA says that it supports the efforts being made in Congress, and that the motorcycle lobbying group is also working with SEMA to keep EPA regulations for vehicles used in competition as they currently stand.
The AMA also says that its focus is to have language in the RPM Act that would specifically exempt competition motorcycles from EPA regulation, a move that would ensure that MotoAmerica and other race series in the US would continue to operate unrestricted.
In case you missed it, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to close a loophole on how the Clean Air Act is applied to race-oriented vehicles, namely by cracking down on “race use only” parts and and going on to say that it is illegal to alter the emission control systems on a vehicle, even if it is not being used on-road.
The issue has caused quite a stir in the aftermarket parts business, which is understandable since the EPAs enforcement would likely mean hefty fines for any manufacturer who produces these “race only” parts.
Dealerships and other business that sold the racing components could also come under the long hammer of the EPA, with these proposed changes.
While there is some interesting discussion to be had on the matter, the EPA’s actions are certainly troublesome. The federal agency’s reversal on 46 year’s worth of precedent seems a bit disingenuous, and its unilateral “reinterpretation” of the Clean Air Act seems like nothing more than a well-lawyered land-grab.
Thankfully, we have Congress on our side.
Episode 17 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast a show we’re pretty proud of, as it tackles some meaty subjects.
As such, Quentin and myself get into a healthy discussion about the EPA’s recent statement that it intends to change wording to the Clean Air Act in order to close the “race use only” loophole for aftermarket equipment for motor vehicles. We hope our arugments spur further debate amongst your own circle of riding friends.
We then shift gears and answer a listener’s question about whether or not he should become a mechanic, and per usual it takes some interesting turns as we discuss the current trends of education, labor, and economics, which eventual devolves into a more philosophical discussion on life, the universe, and everything.
We think you’ll find the whole show highly engaging.
As always, you can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. Enjoy the show!
Last week, we published the story about how the EPA was laying claim to emissions regulation on production vehicles, even when they were being used privately for off-highway uses, such as racing.
This news sent a shockwave through the motorcycle and automotive communities, because this viewpoint from the EPA would drastically change not only the racing and track-enthusiasts landscape in America, but also the aftermarket sales of performance parts that are sold through the “race only” loophole.
As you can imagine, two-wheel and four-wheel enthusiasts were incensed over this revelation from the EPA, and I am sure a number of pitchforks were sharpened in the process.
So against my better judgment, I want to put forward to you an idea that I already know that many of you will disagree with out of hand: the unpopular argument that the EPA is right about all this.
Interesting things are afoot with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as the governmental body is seemingly under the impression that it can regulate the modification of racing vehicles that were originally made for on-road use. As such, the EPA is looking to update legal language to solidify that opinion.
If granted, this would mean that any production-based racing series, both cars and motorcycles, would be subject to EPA emissions regulations, and as such aftermarket modification to those machines would be greatly reduced.
In essence, that sport bike that you take to the race track, whether or not it ever spins a wheel on the road, could be deemed illegal if you modify it from its EPA-certified form, i.e. add an exhaust, intake, etc. Needless to say, this is causing quite the stir.