NO RACE GAS IN CALIFORNIA? READ ON ...
By By Rick Sieman
RACE GAS RULES IN CALIFORNIA
MORE CRAP REGULATIONS FROM THE GOLDEN (HA!) STATE
BY RICK SIEMAN
Many riders use race gas, or mix a small amount of race gas in with their pump gas. With the new hyper four strokes, it’s almost mandatory. The pump gas in California is already piss poor, and you have to hunt far and wide to find 92 octane without ethanol in it.
So it come as no shock to off-roaders that the CARB (California Air Resources Board) has some truly nasty regulations that have been put into place this January 2010.
Shortly put, the regs say that you can only use race gas in your dirt bike if you are on a closed (private) course. This means that you cannot ride on any open trails with race gas in your vehicle under any circumstances. No practice, no trail riding, no fun riding … period.
The truly sad thing is that as California goes, so goes the nation … eventually. Yep, you can bet that some do-gooder politicos in other states will think that’s a swell idea and push more legislation through.
With this in mind, let’s share the actual law with you, directly from the state of California:
TO: REFINERS, BLENDERS, IMPORTERS,
DISTRIBUTORS, RETAILERS, AND
USERS OF RACING FUEL
RACING FUEL SALES, SUPPLY, AND USE REQUIREMENTS
The purpose of this advisory is to inform refiners, blenders, importers, and distributors of racing fuel of the regulations and requirements concerning the supply, sales, and use of gasoline used in racing vehicles (referred to herein as “racing fuel” or “racing gasoline”) in California. This advisory applies only to motor vehicles. See the definition of “motor vehicle” below.
The California Reformulated Gasoline Regulations (RFG) found in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Sections 2250-2273.5 require California gasoline sold, offered for sale, supplied or offered for supply as a motor vehicle fuel to meet certain and specific chemical content and physical property
specifications, including, essentially, a zero lead (Pb) content requirement.
“Supply” means to provide or transfer a product to a physically separate facility, vehicle, or transportation system. Thus, any person in the marketing chain, including an end user / purchaser fueling his own vehicle, is supplying gasoline and is subject to the California RFG Regulations.
“Motor vehicle” is defined as a self-propelled vehicle in section 415 of the California Vehicle Code. Therefore, racing vehicles are by definition motor vehicles. Please note that boats and airplanes are not defined as motor vehicles.
“Racing vehicle” is defined as a competition vehicle not used on public highways. Further, if you can drive it to the track, it is not a racing vehicle. Racing vehicles are exempted from California Air Resources Board (CARB) vehicular air pollution control requirements in section 43001 of the California Health and Safety Code. Racing fuel (gasoline used in racing vehicles), however, is not exempt from the California RFG requirements except as provided in Section 2261(f) of the CCR.
Section 2261(f) specifically provides, in part, that sub-article 2 (Standards for Gasoline) and section 2253.4 (Lead/Phosphorus in Gasoline) “shall not apply to gasoline where the person selling, offering or supplying the gasoline demonstrates as an affirmative defense that the person has taken reasonably prudent precautions to assure that the gasoline is used only in racing vehicles.”
CARB considers gasoline (leaded or unleaded) used in racing vehicles for testing, practice, or actual competition for and during a sanctioned racing event to be exempt from the reformulated gasoline (RFG) specifications. Competition vehicles driven to a racing event on a public highway rather than being transported on a trailer or other carrier are not racing vehicles. Motor vehicles used for work, pleasure, or recreation, i.e. cars, trucks, 4X4’s, motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATV’s, dune buggies, sand rails, and other vehicles not strictly used for racing events, are not racing vehicles and gasoline used in these vehicles is not exempt from
California RFG requirements. Therefore, it is illegal to sell, offer for sale, supply, and offer for supply non-complying racing fuel (leaded and unleaded) for motor vehicles in California except in competition racing vehicles.
Many refiners, blenders, and distributors of racing fuel sell and supply a “street legal” high octane unleaded gasoline (racing fuel) blend that complies with the specifications for California RFG. This complying racing gasoline is readily available and is legal for use in all motor vehicles both on and off road. Retailers may sell this racing gasoline as complying California RFG.
Leaded and unleaded racing fuel that does not meet the California RFG specifications (non-complying racing gasoline) can only be sold, offered for sale, offered for supply, or supplied for use in true, competition racing vehicles. The retailer, i.e. service station, speed shop, auto parts store, fuel distributor, and race track fuel dispensing facility, etc., who is selling or supplying this non-complying gasoline must “take reasonable prudent precautions to assure that the gasoline will be used only in racing vehicles.” If the vehicle this fuel is to be used in is registered or licensed for on-road or off-road use, this usually indicates that non-complying racing fuel cannot be used in it and the sale or supply of the fuel should not take place. CARB will consider this and all other relevant circumstances to determine if “reasonable prudent precautions” were followed in any particular case. In evaluating whether “reasonable and prudent precautions” were followed, CARB will consider whether the retailer kept a record of each sale of non-complying racing gasoline and whether each sales record contains the following information:
. Date of Fuel Purchase
. Name, Address, and Telephone Number of Purchaser / User
. Brand, Name, and Grade (octane rating) of Fuel Purchased
. Type or Description of Vehicle(s) to be Fueled. Is the vehicle(s) to be fueled registered or licensed for on-road use?
. Is the vehicle(s) to be fueled registered or licensed for off-road use?
. License Number and VIN, if any, of Vehicle(s) to be Fueled
. Name of Sanctioned Racing Event
. Date of Event
. Name of Racing Association or Sanctioning Body
. Racing Association or Sanctioning Body Membership ID Number
. Signature under penalty of perjury that the gasoline will be used only in the above racing vehicle(s) for the above sanctioned racing event
Refiners, blenders, importers, and distributors must also take “reasonable prudent precautions” and prove that adequate steps have been taken to limit sales of non-complying racing fuel to racing vehicles, exclusively.
CARB will consider, but is not limited to, the following to be reasonable prudent precautions: import notifications, production reporting, labeling, record keeping, distributor training, and providing customer education materials. The requirement to take reasonable prudent precautions applies to all shipments of non-complying racing fuel regardless of container size, i.e. railcars, cargo tanks, barrels, drums, cans, etc.
Specifically for importers and in-state refiners and blenders, in addition to the above, reasonable prudent precautions should include notification to CARB of the import shipment or in-state production, and labeling of each batch and container of non-complying racing gasoline. Refiners, blenders, importers, and distributors
may enter into an enforcement protocol with CARB or modify their existing protocol as appropriate.
Bulk containers, including but not limited to railcars, cargo tanks, barrels, drums, and cans, as well as bills of lading, delivery tickets, and invoices for all shipments of non-complying racing fuel offered or supplied for sale and use in California must be conspicuously labeled with the following:
LEGAL FOR USE ONLY IN COMPETITION RACING VEHICLES
NOT LEGAL FOR USE IN ANY OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE
Letters or statements included with shipping documents outlining the legal uses of the racing fuel, instructions sent to distributors and retailers concerning legal sales and use of racing fuel, or other specific steps outlined in a new or modified enforcement protocol with CARB Enforcement Division, are additional ways for refiners, blenders, importers, and distributors to comply with the taking “reasonable prudent precautions” requirement.
CARB will evaluate whether all of the information discussed in this Advisory #397 is included in the records. The absence of such records or records that lack the above information argue against “reasonable and prudent precautions” having been taken.
Note: There is some confusion concerning the terms “on road” and “off road” fuels. In California, there is NO such distinction for motor vehicle fuels. All motor vehicle fuel specifications apply to all fuel used in non-racing motor vehicles
operated on or off road.
If you have any questions, please contact Frederick Schmidt at (916) 327-1522, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
James R. Ryden, Chief, Enforcement Division, California Air Resources Board, P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95812
Well, well, well … Big Brother at work. There you have it, in gobbledeegook babbling double-speak, the official mind-numbing words from CARB.
Let’s give you the other side of the story, with a letter from Bruce Hendel from VP Racing Fuels:
Let me give you a little background. I am going to give you a simple interpretation of the law. There is some more detail in the Advisory and, obviously, if you want to look into it even further, please do so. The references in the advisory will give you a starting point.
You may have heard the term RFG in reference to gasoline. This acronym stands for reformulated gas, and in very simple terms, that is the only gas that can be used in motor vehicles in California (and in most other states, too). One of the requirements of RFG gas that you are familiar with is that that gasoline can have zero lead. The law gives racing fuel a specific exemption from the RFG requirements where (and I am quoting here) "where the person selling, offering or supplying the gasoline demonstrates as an affirmative defense that the person has taken reasonably prudent precautions to assure that the gasoline is used only in racing vehicles." So, when it is used in racing vehicles, it does not have to meet the various RFG requirements.
At this point, it is important that you know two very specific definitions so you can understand the extent of this California law.
First, the exemption for racing vehicles includes anyone that is "supplying" gasoline. The word "supplying" is specifically defined to include fueling a vehicle (which would, therefore, make anyone who puts gasoline in a vehicle potentially liable for a violation).
The second thing you need to know is ... what is a racing vehicle. A "racing vehicle" is defined as a competition vehicle not used on public highways. A "public highway" is more than just a street. It is defined in several California codes to include any way or place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel, which would include public trails.
So ... to summarize where we are at this point... Fuel that is not RFG fuel can only be sold or used in the state of California in vehicles that are used in competition and not on public highways or trails.
The first thing ... if you are using racing fuel, you should ensure that it is being used in a racing vehicle. Do not use it in your street cars or your dirt bike in the mountains. VP offers is VP 100 gasoline, also known by some of you as Streetblaze, which is an excellent choice to get more performance out of your gasoline while still meeting all the requirements for gasoline in California, and all the other states. VP100 is CARB legal and meets the CARB requirements for on and off road use and does not require additional record keeping as is required for non RFG fuels.
CARB enforcement is of the opinion that:
* If you can drive the vehicle to the race course, it is not a racing vehicle.
* Gasoline is exempt from the RFG requirements if it is used in racing vehicles for testing, practice, or actual competition for and during a sanctioned racing event. So, you can practice and test your cars ... but it has to be in anticipation of a sanctioned racing event (not just you and your buddies racing in the canyons).
Motor vehicles used for work, pleasure, or recreation, i.e. cars, trucks, 4X4's, motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATV's, dune buggies, sand rails, and other vehicles not strictly used for racing events, are not racing vehicles.
If the vehicle is registered for on-road or off-road use, this usually indicates that racing gasoline cannot be used in it.
There is no distinction in California law regarding "on road" and "off road" fuels as it relates to our use (unless you are operating special construction equipment or an implement of husbandry ... haha).
While these interpretations may be debatable, and believe me, we have done a lot of debating within the halls of VP, please be aware that CARB has stated these opinions and will act accordingly. You don't want to debate them in a courthouse.
Also, the news is not all bad. For those of you who want a fuel in your street rod or trail bike, keep in mind that VP100 (Streetblaze) is a "street legal" high octane unleaded gasoline blend that complies with the specifications for California RFG. This complying racing gasoline is readily available and is legal for use in all motor vehicles both on and off road. There is an answer to every problem.
Western Regional Manager
VP Racing Fuels, Inc.