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SEMA Action Network Alerts

SEMA Opposes Request to Market Gasoline with 15% Ethanol

SEMA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing an application to allow the ethanol content of gasoline to increase to 15% (from 10%). SEMA cited concern that the additional content could harm automobile parts of all ages, including special interest collector and historic vehicles, and that there is insufficient information to allay these concerns. Read SEMA’s comments.

SEMA’s comments were echoed by other organizations as well, including the Engine Manufacturers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and American Lung Association. SEMA identified a number of unanswered concerns which are reinforced by the fact that tests using ethanol concentrations up to 20% have shown a notable increase in wear on fuel systems in vehicles produced up to and including model year 1995.

Deterioration of such systems in vehicles built prior to 1990 has shown a greater rate of damage. Fuel pumps, tanks, seals, hoses and other rubber components are particularly subject to failures.

Visit SEMA eNews for more information.

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SEMA Wins Protection for Collector Cars and Parts

The vehicle scrappage legislation was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a 298-119 vote. President Obama has backed the plan and passage in the Senate is expected in the near future. Proponents claim that the so-called "Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (CARS)" may spur an estimated 625,000 vehicle sales. The program will last for one year.

"SEMA has consistently supported efforts to spur new car sales, but is disappointed that Congress ignored evidence that vehicle scrappage programs will not achieve claimed environmental benefits," said Chris Kersting, SEMA's President & CEO. "However, we are pleased that lawmakers agreed to spare from the crusher older cars and parts that help drive the restoration aftermarket and the passions of many in the automotive hobbyist community."

Under the program, consumers who agree to scrap a trade-in car that gets 18 miles per gallon or less (15 mpg or less for heavy pick-ups and vans) will receive a voucher to buy a qualifying new car. The voucher will range from $3,500 to $4,500 based on the new car's fuel efficiency. The program primarily targets SUVs and pickups since most passenger cars manufactured during the last 25 years get more than the 18 mpg combined city/highway requirement. Vehicle mpg ratings are listed at www.fueleconomy.gov.

The $4 billion program will begin when it is signed into law by the president. The car buyer will receive a $3,500 voucher if they buy a new passenger car that was rated at 4 mpg higher than the older vehicle, or a new pickup truck/SUV that was at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck. They will receive a $4,500 if the passenger car was at least 10 mpg higher and the truck/SUV was at least 5 mpg higher.

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California Proposes to Enhance Vehicle Scrappage Program

Participants would receive $1,000 per vehicle or $1,500 per vehicle if they meet low-income requirements.  The proposal would also establish a pilot voucher program in the South Coast and San Joaquin Valley air basins that targets the highest-emitting vehicles and requires their replacement with newer, cleaner vehicles. The local air districts would work with the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) to determine vehicle eligibility and low-income status. Once approved, the districts would provide the applicant a Letter of Eligibility from BAR and a redeemable voucher. Consumers would retire their vehicle at a participating dismantler, receiving an immediate compensation of $1,000 - $1,500 for vehicle retirement. Consumers could then redeem their voucher at participating car dealerships toward the purchase of a replacement vehicle. CARB is proposing that the voucher compensation be $2,000 or $2,500 per vehicle depending on income level.   

CARB will conduct a public hearing to consider adoption of the proposed Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program Regulation (Car Scrap).

DATE:  June 25-26, 2009
TIME:   9:00 a.m.
PLACE:  California Environmental Protection Agency
Air Resources Board, Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814

This item will be considered at a two-day meeting of the Board, which will commence at 9:00 a.m., June 25, 2009, and may continue at 8:30 a.m., on June 26, 2009. This item may not be considered until June 26, 2009.

Comments to the proposal are due June 24.  To read the full proposal, go to:

Written comments must be received no later than 12:00 noon, Pacific Standard Time, June 24, 2009, and addressed to the following: (updated link): http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2009/carscrap09/carscrapisor.pdf

Clerk of the Board, Air Resources Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, California 95814

Electronic submittal: http://www.arb.ca.gov/lispub/comm/bclist.php
Fax submittal: (916) 322-3928

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CA Emissions Bill Dies

California Bill to Require ANNUAL Emissions Tests for Vehicles 15-Years Old and Older Dies in Committee

Legislation (A.B. 859) in the California Assembly to require annual Smog check inspections for vehicles 15-years old and older was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is essentially dead for the year.  The bill would also have required that funds generated through the additional inspection fees be deposited into an account which could have been used to scrap older cars.  Pre-1976 motor vehicles would have remained exempt under A.B. 859.

SEMA worked to protect the interest of car owners in California to help defeat this bill.  Thanks and congratulations to all of you who participated in this effort to defeat A.B. 859!

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SEMA Seeks Protection for Collector Cars and Parts

Under the draft legislation currently circulating in Congress, the program would last up to one year and potentially scrap one million older cars and trucks. The scrapped vehicle must get less that 18 mpg (15 mpg for heavy pick-ups and vans). The car buyer would receive a $3,500 voucher if they bought a new passenger car that was at least 4 mpg higher than the older vehicle, or a new pickup truck/SUV that was at least 2 mpg higher than the old truck. They would receive a $4,500 if the passenger car was at least 10 mpg higher and the truck/SUV was at least 5 mpg higher. The program would mandate that the engine block and drive train be destroyed.

"SEMA is working with lawmakers to mitigate some of the legislation's unintended consequences and its potential damage to the automotive aftermarket," said Chris Kersting, SEMA's President & CEO. "These commonsense proposals will make sure the government is not spending $3,500 or 4,500 on a vehicle that may only be worth a few hundred dollars but may have potential value to vehicle collectors and to promote the benefits of parts recycling."

A vehicle that is 25 years old or older is rarely driven, does not contribute to the nation's dependence on foreign oil, and is worth far less than the government voucher. A 25-year exclusion would also guarantee that older cars that have an historic or aesthetic value are not inadvertently crushed. These vehicles are valued by hobbyists or may be a source of recyclable parts for use on restoration projects.

The letter to the Congressional leadership noted that recycling the engine and transmission is environmentally sensitive. "If the legislation simply requires that the equipment be disassembled as the vehicle is scrapped, it would fulfill lawmakers' intent to prevent an engine/drive train from being directly installed into another vehicle," Kersting added. "The responsible recycling of parts is a better solution for preserving natural resources and reducing CO2 emissions than crushing the equipment."

Rebuilt engines require an estimated 80% less energy to produce than a new engine and cost 30-50% less since the core has been salvaged. Critical internal parts are replaced so the final rebuilt product is one that meets or exceeds original equipment performance standards. The engine/transmission can even surpass new car technology with the simple addition of new-technology retrofit equipment.

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