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08LR20 – MRF Leaders Report – December

December 15, 2008 by  

Regulatory Update – MRF Advocates for Motorcyclists

Recently the Federal government requested comment from the general public on two important motorcycle related issues. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation submitted comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

The EPA comments were requested to address the Supreme Court ruling Massachusetts v. EPA.  In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act (CAA) authorizes the regulation of greenhouse gases (GHGs) because they meet the definition of an air pollutant under the CAA. The EPA notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) is a lengthy document that
attempts to address every segment of the polluting population affected by the Court’s decision including ships, aircraft and off-road vehicles such as farm and construction equipment, stationary sources and motorcycles.

The NPRM does address the fact that motorcycles occupy a very small segment of the polluting population. However it then goes on to state that it is the EPA’s belief that most motorcycle engines are tuned for performance and not efficiency. Therefore, it is the opinion of the EPA, motorcycle engines can be adjusted to pollute less. The MRF comments suggest that is categorically not true.

Options laid out in the NPRM are to lead manufacturers to increase the use of electronic fuel injection (replacing carburetors); reducing permeation from fuel lines and fuel tanks; and eliminating the use of two-stroke engines in the small scooter category.

The NPRM goes on to encourage manufacturers to incorporate more precise feedback fuel controls; controlling enrichment on cold starts and under load by electronically controlling choke operation. Also allowing lower idle speeds when the opportunity exists; optimizing spark for fuel and operating conditions through use of a knock sensor; and, like light-duty
vehicles, reducing the engine size and incorporating a turbo-charger.

The MRF believes that the employment of any of these options, especially turbos, will result in added expense and therefore discourage Americans from choosing motorcycles as transportation and therefore reducing motorcycles fuel-saving benefit to the country. The MRF asked that motorcycles be removed from the EPA plan to limit GHGs.

Read the MRF comments and the NPRM at Docket ID

USTR has “beef” with European motorcycles?

In 1999 the European Communities (EC) decided to ban any importation of beef products from the USA. The EC claimed that due to the use of growth hormones being used in US beef production they were unfit to be consumed by citizens of the EC, thus resulting in a $116 million shortfall for US beef producers.  The US trade community decided to retaliate – not by
banning items for sale in the US, but by increasing the tariff paid on specific items from specific countries in the EC. The first list came out in 1999 and it contained many beef and agricultural products as well as a few non agri-products such as hair clippers and small displacement motorcycles (50-500cc). The final list came out in 2000 and the motorcycles had been removed.  The USTR is at it again and this list also contains motorcycles. The USTR is proposing to double rates of duty ad valorem which translates into twice the declared value of the motorcycle imported from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. So
that means the price of Vespa, Piaggio, KTM, and Husqvarna scooters and motorcycles will double. The MRF asked that the motorcycles be removed from the final list of tariff retaliation tactics.

To view the list of proposed items and the comments visit docket number USTR-2008-0036.

The MRF will keep you updated on the final result of both of these situations.
Ride With The LeadersTM by joining the MRF at or call 1-202-546-0983

(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists’ rights organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists’ rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early 1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists’ rights organizations and the very founders of the American riders’ rights movement among its leading members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public
awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists’ rights organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.



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