This is bad. EPA going after tuner

TType85

Well-Known Member
Please keep this non-political. This is a bad thing if the EPA wins. They are going after him for selling parts that *could* be used to bypass emissions.

http://vtec.net/forums/one-message?message_id=1314153

Some of you will remember the story I relayed last year about the EPA picking on small tuning businesses along with parts makers like Cobb Tuning. After Trump's election, the EPA kind of went into hiding for awhile (see articles on increases of alcoholism among EPA employees - seriously).

There were fears of budget cuts and many EPA employees weren't sure if they'd be employed in 3-6 months.

Well, apparently they have some confidence back, because they have resumed their assault on the automotive aftermarket. In particular, they have proceeded to come back to Evans Tuning with a ruling and fines that are, well, tyrannical might be too nice a word.

As a refresher, Evans Tuning is a mom and pop operation run by Jeff Evans (the tuner) and his wife. Jeff is a nice guy, talented and well respected in the business. He has a very loyal and happy customer base, and was named one of the top 20 tuning shops in the country.

After Cobb Tuning (and other ecu/flash tool makers) were raided last year, Evans Tuning received a demand letter from the EPA giving him one month to submit all his sales and customer data from the proceeding 3 years. It had to be submitted in an EPA mandated format and it was _not_ optional. After Jeff met the EPA demands he did not hear from them again, until just a couple weeks ago. They asked for a conference call with Jeff and his attorney. The conference call took place today.

In it, Evans was told that the EPA had identified no less than 298 violations of the clean air act, and each violation was subject to a fine of several thousand dollars. The net penalty is somewhere in excess of US$1 million. The vast majority of these penalties were not related to Evans' tuning of various vehicles, but rather because Evans sold products to end customers that could be used to bypass emissions rules. Let me repeat that. Evans sold products, available on the market today, that _could_ be used to bypass emissions controls on vehicles. And furthermore, while Evans Tuning is a corporation, they have personally attached Jeff Evans to the fines, meaning even if Evans Tuning goes bankrupt, he is still liable for them personally.

Hopefully you begin to see both the ridiculousness of such an attack, as well as the danger it represents to any enthusiast. The EPA has now resumed its assertion (belayed last year when the US Congress entertained amending the clean air act to fix this) that the Clean Air Act does not exclude production based race cars from the rules forbidding any alteration of any emissions equipment on the car. Historically the EPA had said that race cars didn't fall under the purview of the law, but changed their interpretation last year.

If the EPA's action against Evans succeeds, they will have, in one fell swoop, made illegal over 90% of the products and services provided by the aftermarket in the United States. Any modification that does not undergo California CARB certification or a US FTP emissions cert, would be de facto illegal for use on any vehicle made after 1971, regardless of the usage or venue of usage for that vehicle. No longer will you be able to custom tune a race car, unless you are willing to spend $10k to custom certify the emissions of that vehicle. And all production based racing series (see World Challenge, for example) would be required to use factory catalysts (which will not last in a race environment of course).

The action against Evans is also capricious in that it singles out someone who simply performed a select set of services on the vehicle. A customer who brings in a race car (converted from a street car) that has removed all emissions equipment, added a turbocharger and a stand alone aftermarket ECU is not prosecuted, but the man who tuned the ECU (and indeed made the vehicle run better) is facing bankruptcy and the ruin of his life and career. Of course, after the EPA is done with tuners, the end users may be next. Look for EPA thugs at your local race track soon.

Hopefully the fight is not over yet. Evans is still dealing with the ramifications and shock of being hit with this incredible penalty. But I suspect he will choose to fight and will start a legal fund which I would encourage everyone to donate to. Every little bit counts as this will probably be a 6 figure litigation expense.

You can also help by calling or faxing your Congressman and asking them to please fasttrack and approve the RPM act of 2017 (Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports). This will at least exempt any race vehicles from the EPA's medusan gaze. Then we can get to work on a more reasonable emissions testing process for modified vehicles so that we can all win (modified cars with assurances that they are clean enough for our roads).

In the meantime, if you know anyone in the automotive aftermarket, warn them to be prepared. And if you want to modify a car, buy an old muscle car and go wild.

SC
 

~JM~

Wrinkled Member
Didn't something similar happen to Jesse James' West Coast Choppers?

Seem to recall a problem with the bikes having straight pipes.
 

TType85

Well-Known Member
The vast majority of these penalties were not related to Evans' tuning of various vehicles, but rather because Evans sold products to end customers that could be used to bypass emissions rules. Let me repeat that. Evans sold products, available on the market today, that _could_ be used to bypass emissions controls on vehicles

This is going after a company that sells aftermarket parts that *could* be used to bypass emissions. By that standard almost all of the vendors here are in danger of getting hit by something like this.
 
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