The U.S. Congress has heard the voice of enthusiasts from around the country and is working to pass the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act. The House Energy & Commerce Committee passed the bill in December 2017 and a Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee reviewed the bill during a November 2017 hearing. The RPM Act awaits a House floor vote and Senate committee vote. The bill clarifies that the Clean Air Act allows motor vehicles to be converted into dedicated race cars and that it is legal to produce, sell and install race parts for these vehicles. Passage of this bill is necessary to ensure that enthusiasts can continue to purchase and install these products on a car or motorcycle that is used exclusively for racing.
E15 /Ethanol:The SAN supports legislation to cap the amount of ethanol that can be blended into conventional gasoline at 10% and prohibit the sale of E15 (gasoline with 15% ethanol). The “RFS Reform Act of 2017” (H.R. 1315) would also eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) mandate that 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year. The SAN also supports federal legislation (S. 2519/H.R. 5212) to cap the amount of ethanol that’s required to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply at 9.7%. The bills phase out the federal government’s ethanol mandates under the RFS by reducing the amount the amount of corn ethanol blended into gasoline by 2 billion gallons a year until the requirement is eliminated in 2030. While the RFS was intended to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil, the 2007 law has translated into ever-increasing corn production so that the ethanol byproduct can be blended into gasoline. The EPA has turned to sales of E15 to achieve the law’s artificial mandate. Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in automobiles produced before 2001 that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials.
Nitrous-Oxide Shortage:Deliveries of nitrous oxide are back to normal in most parts of the country following a fatal explosion in August 2016 at an Airgas plant in Cantonment, Florida. There are only a small number of plants in the United States that produce nitrous, which enhances an engine’s power output by increasing the amount of fuel that can be burned. The shortages gradually eased as production increased elsewhere. SAN staff were in contact with major nitrous producers, who were working to address the shortage that exists. Companies have hired additional workers and increased production at the other facilities and are working diligently to manage their customer base.
Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF):The salt flats have significantly decreased in size, strength and thickness over many decades as salt brine has been channeled away from the area. The SAN, along with other organizations and companies comprising the “Save the Salt” Coalition, is working closely with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages the salt flats, in addition to federal and state lawmakers and the adjoining potash mine owner, Intrepid, on a salt brine pumping program to restore the BSF and its 13-mile speedway.
Outdoor Recreation:The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee passed a bill intended to promote access to outdoor recreation opportunities, streamline the permitting process for guides and recreation enthusiasts, make federal agencies accountable for prioritizing outdoor recreation, and address the maintenance backlog on America’s public lands through increased volunteerism. The “Recreation Not Red-Tape Act” (H.R. 3400/S. 1633) is supported by the SAN and groups representing off-roading, camping, fishing, boating, hiking, archery and other sports. The bill has been sent to the House floor. A companion Senate bill is awaiting consideration by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Historic Vehicle Registration:The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing earlier this year on legislation that would require the National Park Service (NPS) to develop and maintain a national registry of historic vehicles. The “National Historic Vehicle Register Act of 2017” (S. 966/H.R. 4066) requires the NPS to develop criteria for including historic vehicles within the registry and to work with the Historic Vehicle Association, American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation and other organizations to invite owners of historic vehicles to participate in the registry. The legislation instructs the NPS to consider the following factors when developing measures that will be used to determine which vehicles are included: associated with an important event or a significant individual in automotive or U.S. history; unique design, aesthetics, craftsmanship, or engineering; and was the first or last produced or among the most well-preserved or authentically restored examples of that type.