By the SEMA Washington, D.C., office
SEMA--representing more than 7,000 businesses in the auto aftermarket--has begun to air a new advertisement (shown below) highlighting the innovative steps that the industry is taking to improve vehicles and encourage the use of alternative fuels.
The ad, airing statewide and online in Connecticut, comes after a potential ban on all new gas- and diesel-powered cars has been floated in the state, going into effect as soon as 2035.
The auto aftermarket industry has led the way with alternative fuel innovations, including replacing older engine technologies with newer, cleaner versions and converting older internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric, hydrogen and other alternative fuels. Encouraging free market innovation is the best path toward developing new vehicle technologies to reduce emissions meaningfully.
Further supporting this, a poll commissioned by SEMA in December 2023 shows that voters across the state overwhelmingly oppose a potential ban that would make new vehicles equipped with ICE illegal in the coming years. Eliminating choice will not help; 56% of respondents believe this is an extreme example of government overreach that removes affordable choices from Connecticut's families and dictates what consumers must buy.
"Engineers solve problems," said Greg Banish, a mechanical engineer featured in the ad. "As long as we're not handcuffed, you'll see a lot of cool innovations… If we take away that option for [the aftermarket], now we're forced into using one system, we might unintentionally legislate ourselves out of what would have been the next great development."
According to the poll, 59% of registered voters across Connecticut surveyed in December say they oppose a potential ban, and 63% of nonpartisan (independent) voters oppose a ban on ICE technology. More than half of voters surveyed, 51%, say they are less likely to vote for an elected official who supports a ban on new gas-powered cars, including 56% among independent or nonpartisan voters.
According to an economic impact report released by SEMA in the fall, Connecticut is also home to a vibrant automotive specialty-equipment market economy. The industry supports $3.79 billion in economic impact in Connecticut--including supporting 13,323 jobs, $1.26 billion in total wages and benefits and $195 million in state and local taxes paid. This substantial economic impact and the 13,000+ jobs across Connecticut would be at serious risk with a ban on traditional vehicles, which support the industry.