SEMA News—October 2013

By Steve McDonald

Law and Order



North Carolina Titles:

Legislation to provide for the prompt issuance of titles to owners of out-of-state motor vehicles that are 35 years old or older was signed into law by Governor Pat McCrory. Under the SEMA-supported new law, if a required inspection and verification is not conducted by the Division of Motor Vehicles within 15 days after it receives a request and the inspector has no probable cause to believe that the ownership documents or vehicle identification number do not match the vehicle being examined, the vehicle will be deemed to have satisfied all requirements and the title will be issued to the owner within 15 days. If an inspection and verification is performed in a timely manner and the vehicle passes, title will issue to the owner within 15 days of the date of the inspection. The new law, which became effective on July 23, provides vehicle owners with a fair, reasonable and reliable time period in which they can have these older cars inspected and receive title from the DMV.

 North Carolina Headlamps:

SEMA-opposed legislation that would have imposed a $100 fine on any person who equipped a car with headlamps that “change the original design” died when the North Carolina legislature adjourned for the year. SEMA-opposed legislation that would have imposed a $100 fine on any person who equipped a car with headlamps that “change the original design” died when the North Carolina legislature adjourned for the year.

The bill directly conflicted with the federal National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, which makes clear that the standards adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for required motor vehicle equipment (including headlamps) are to be performance standards, not design standards.


Ohio Headlamps:

SEMA is challenging recently introduced Ohio legislation to require headlamps to display a “white light” without further requiring that they comply with NHTSA standards regarding lighting equipment.

Under the NHTSA standard, it is possible to design a headlamp that emits a light that is perceived as having a blue tint but which nevertheless remains within the boundaries that define “white.”


A federal appeals court dismissed on technicalities a lawsuit that challenged the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to permit the sale of 15% ethanol (E15) content in gasoline for ’01 and newer model-year cars and light trucks. Oregon Ethanol:

Legislation to repeal the requirement that retail dealers, nonretail dealers or wholesale dealers sell only gasoline blended with a specified percentage of ethanol died when the Oregon legislature adjourned for the year. The bill did not receive committee consideration. Oregon requires that gasoline sold or offered for sale contain 10% ethanol by volume. The measure recognized that, while the current ethanol mandate does not apply to fuel used in antique vehicles, there has been an inability to obtain unblended gasoline for engines that may be damaged by ethanol.



Health-Care Law:

The Obama administration announced that implementation of the health-care law’s employer mandate penalties will be delayed for one year. The law requires employers with 50 or more fulltime workers to offer health-care insurance or be subject to a $2,000 fine per employee.

The play-or-pay mandate will still take effect on January 1, 2014, but will not be enforced until 2015. The delay comes in part from a business community appeal that the law is complex, regulations are still being drafted, and companies need more time to understand and comply with the rules. The decision does not affect small employers with fewer than 50 workers, since they are not required to offer insurance under the law. For more information, visit here.


E15 Ethanol:

Witnesses representing oil, fuel and petrochemical, livestock, automotive, food, biofuel and environmental organizations testified before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on whether the Renewable Fuel Standard should be repealed or scaled back. The Renewable Fuel Standard mandates that an increasing amount of biofuels be blended into gasoline each year. It is the driving force behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to permit sales of 15% ethanol in gasoline (E15) in order to achieve the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates. Committee leaders have stated that full repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard is unlikely, but reform is a viable option. SEMA supports reducing the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates and banning the sale of E15. Ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older cars. E15 can also burn hotter than E10 gasoline and cause damage to certain high-performance specialty parts.

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