That opens the door to a slippery slope, however, as some state lawmakers have shown by attempting to go one step further. For example, a bill has been introduced in New York to mandate that replacement tires be as energy efficient as tires sold as original equipment. To date, the bill has been rejected, since it would essentially set a 50-state standard, potentially imposing substantial redesign costs on tire manufacturers, and conflict with the federal/California programs-not to mention eliminating the ability to alter the width, height, or treadwear of your tires. Say good-bye to wide and sticky, or all-terrain tires.
Another concern is whether consumers could be dissuaded from buying tires that may have improved performance, handling, or appearance, based solely on a rolling resistance rating. Additionally, the program could distract attention from more important safety and efficiency issues such as proper tire inflation and choosing correct tires for the vehicle's intended use.
Lighting Equipment & Government Regulations
Lighting technology has entered a new dimension. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are blazing a new path, and headlights can now produce light beams that follow the car's path around corners, and even lengthen the area of illumination proportionate to speed. Seems like an ideal update for older cars for increased visibility, safety, and styling alternatives. SAN is working with federal and state authorities to keep laws current with these advances.
The NHTSA is the federal agency that regulates original and aftermarket motor vehicle lighting products. NHTSA focuses on standard equipment required on all new cars, like headlamps and taillights. For this equipment, agency rules establish permissible limits for light intensity, color, and range. For example, in recent years enforcement officials have pursued non-compliant High Intensity Discharge (HID) conversion kits that may produce glare, and restyled combination lamps that are missing required functions existing on the original equipment lamps. Certain clear taillight covers, marker lamps, certain "blue" headlight bulbs, and other equipment have also been subject to scrutiny, since they can alter what other drivers perceive. The object is to ensure upgrades don't endanger another driver's ability to recognize what a vehicle is, or is not doing, at night.
States can enact their own vehicle equipment rules when there is no federal regulation. For instance, some states have issued regulations covering "optional" or "accessory" lighting equipment. A few states prohibit a vehicle from being equipped with a lamp or lighting device unless such lamp or lighting device is expressly required or permitted by law or regulation. Other regulations may include maximum candlepower, location and placement, aim of light beam, and the times, places, and conditions under which the lamps or lights may be used. For example, most states prohibit the use of flashing, oscillating, modulating, or rotating lights of any color while the vehicle is being operated on a public highway, to eliminate confusion with emergency vehicles.
While those standards are typically understandable and based on safety concerns, some states have poorly drafted laws which restrict equipment to that which came with the original vehicle. This may prevent the consumer from installing a range of cutting-edge equipment, which complies with a performance standard, but may not match the car's original design specs. SAN is working to make sure there is no unfair bias against the installation and use of aftermarket lamps so hot rodders can legally and correctly retrofit modern lighting into vintage cars.
Ethanol: My Engine Is Not Vegetarian -It Wants Gas.
There is a battle raging in Washington that may force you to put ethanol in your car, whether you want to or not. The EPA currently allows gasoline to include up to 10 percent ethanol (E-10), a fuel additive made from corn or other biomass sources. The ethanol industry wants the EPA to increase the amount to 15 percent.