When it comes to developing software and hard parts that are efficient and, more importantly, compliant with the stringent emissions standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB ), the aftermarket performance industry has been stuck between a rock and a hard place for nearly a decade now.
Both agencies monitor air quality in the United States and are authorized to issue fines to manufacturers, sellers, installers and users of products that do not comply with air quality laws. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has established a new Certified Emissions Program it calls “SC-E” that helps aftermarket performance parts manufacturers develop products that adhere to the SEMA’s tamper-proof policy. EPA and its “reasonable basis” criteria for legality in 49 states.
Yes, California is the lone wolf, with CARB calling the shots when it comes to licensing performance parts. It’s classic catch-22, especially considering that the southern region of the Golden State is known as the birthplace of vehicle modification and the hot-rodding hobby.
Although performance improvements in gasoline and diesel engines are achieved primarily by removing restrictions and increasing the volume of air in the intake and exhaust channels of a powertrain, as well as increasing the fuel and/or adjusting the timing, some or all of these modifications generally result in a vehicle’s emissions. output measuring well above the maximum acceptable CARB limits. Using a supercharger as an example, finding the right balance between effectiveness and efficiency that will result in emissions compliance is a manufacturer’s biggest challenge.
The process of submitting engine-specific performance parts for testing and hopefully earning a coveted CARB Executive Order Number (EO approval confirms that a product is legal for sale and use). use in all 50 states), is a time-consuming and expensive undertaking that is not guaranteed to succeed on the first or even the hundredth try.
The SEMA Garage
SEMA, a longtime advocate for its members and aftermarket businesses seeking CARB’s blessing, offers assistance in this area through its SEMA Garage and Automotive Emissions Lab and Center. state-of-the-art compliance facility in Diamond Bar, California.
At the center, SEMA compliance personnel evaluate gasoline and diesel products, recommend changes to ensure parts meet EPA tampering policy guidelines, interact with CARB on behalf of applicants, and reviews and evaluates test data. All of this is done at an affordable price and, of course, achieving CARB EO certification is ultimately game over.
SEMA Director of Emissions Compliance Peter Treydte said the new SC-E initiative “gives manufacturers many more options and opportunities, and is an important step in the industry’s ability to deliver products to consumers”.
in the right direction
Of course, from a gearhead’s perspective, these are the ones that will help produce significant horsepower and torque gains. We think the program is definitely a step in the right direction. And, apparently, BluePrint Engines too – we recently learned that the manufacturer is one of the first companies to try the services of SC-E, for one of its new Chevy small-block engines.