Solving the Aftermarket Emissions Compliance Puzzle

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Over the years, SEMA has received many requests from members seeking information about federal and state emissions compliance requirements. To assist these members in understanding the requirements and to identify ways to minimize both cost and time in reaching compliance status, SEMA has collected information that addresses these issues in a very user-friendly way. The "Black Book" is a summary of documents and steps involved in obtaining emissions-related parts compliance. This information is available free to any SEMA member and can be found on the SEMA website in the "Government Affairs" section.

Members should note that obtaining emissions compliance status in California, based on the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), also satisfies the requirements of the Federal Clean Air Act. As a result, emissions-related parts that become legal for sale in California are legal for sale in all other states. Compliance is based on securing a CARB Executive Order (EO) based on test data demonstrating that a vehicle will continue to comply with emissions standards when an aftermarket add-on product is installed. Furthermore, no emissions-related parts may be legitimately labeled "49-state legal” if a recognized testing process has not been undertaken. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a requirement (Memorandum 1A), which states that manufacturers have a reasonable basis for concluding their products do not adversely affect the emissions of the vehicles on which they are to be installed. Currently, the EPA recognizes a CARB EO as meeting the required "reasonable basis." An alternative method for demonstrating a reasonable basis for EPA recognition of a 49-state claim would be testing to the Federal Test Procedure, including durability tests.

SEMA also provides assistance to its members through SEMA Technical Consultant Jim McFarland, who is available to help member companies obtain compliance for their products. In addition, the newly created SEMA Garage is available for reduced-cost evaluation of emissions-related parts, including both developmental and certification testing. 

For more information, please contact Jim McFarland at