How SEMA makes parts legal

Before we start, some full disclosure is needed: I’m a regular editorial contributor to Performance Racing Industry magazine, with PRI representing the hardcore race-parts element of SEMA, which represents the sprawling automotive aftermarket in North America. Given that clean tailpipes are a huge priority for all vehicles now, modified and otherwise, it’s crucial that the Specialty Equipment Market Association’s member firms have a way to prove that their components, which make up part of the estimated $47 billion-plus U.S. automotive aftermarket, are indeed legal for use on road-driven cars. SEMA’s got a program that’s been very effective in that regard.

The program is called SEMA Certified-Emissions (SC-E), and it provides manufacturers with the ability to verify that a product meets the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s “reasonable basis” criteria and is therefore legal for sale in 49 states under the EPA’s established Tampering Policy as it applies to emissions compliance. That 49-state approval is needed before manufacturers can apply for, and receive, a California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Order (EO), which is still a requirement for selling products in all 50 states. With state-of-the-art CARB-recognized testing equipment, plus dedicated test staff, the SEMA Garage – that’s the umbrella term for the test program – has helped secure more than 500 CARB EOs, which represents more than half of all the performance parts-related EOs issued by CARB. Ensuring environmental compliance is a top priority at both SEMA and PRI.

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