As far as tires go, new rubber compounds, designs, and other characteristics are being weighed for the sake of producing more fuel-efficient skins that won't negatively affect traction and durability. This is being done due to California and the federal suits pushing for regulations to rate replacement tires in order to widen the availability of fuel-saving models for consumers. The big question here is whether or not consumers will be persuaded from purchasing tires with improved performance, handling, or appearance features based on rolling resistance (fuel efficiency) ratings. Common vehicle maintenance practices such as keeping any set of tires properly inflated instantly boosts fuel economy by 3 to 4 percent over under-inflated rubber. If California pushes the need to further investigate a "fuel-efficient tire," a testing program can take effect by mid-2011. Will we be able to buy a set of "green" 24-inch tires one day?

Although we are doing our part to inform you, the custom enthusiast, about important issues being batted around federal, state, and local government branches, you can learn more by becoming involved with and joining the SEMA Action Network (SAN). They have been combing through the fine print and delivering legislative solutions for automotive junkies since 1997. In addition to being completely free of charge, SAN is hands down the best resource we have in order to stay informed on threatening issues and ways to take positive action against them. Customizing is not only a hobby, it's a lifestyle-let's do everything we can to preserve it, not only for ourselves but for future generations of enthusiasts. Visit SEMASAN.com for more information.

Name Calling
Here's a brief list of common terms the states have used to define the automotive hobby:

A Hobbyist, in Virginia, is an owner of one or more reconstructed or specially constructed vehicles, who collects, purchases, acquires, trades, or disposes of reconstructed or specially constructed vehicles or parts thereof for his own use in order to build, reconstruct, restore, preserve, and maintain a reconstructed or specially constructed vehicle for historic or hobby interest.

A Specially Constructed Vehicle, in California, is a vehicle which is built for private use, not for resale, is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer, and may be built from a kit, new or used, or a combination of new and used parts, or a vehicle reported for dismantling, which, when reconstructed, does not resemble the original make of the vehicle dismantled.

A Modified Vehicle, in Illinois, is any vehicle of a type that is required to be registered under Illinois law that has been altered by the addition, deletion, or modification of the body, chassis, component, or essential parts, new or used.

A Historic Vehicle, in Michigan, is a vehicle which is over 25 years old and which is owned solely as a collector's item for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades, and similar uses, including mechanical testing, but is not used for general transportation.

A Parts Car, in New Mexico, is a motor vehicle generally in non-operable condition, which is owned by a collector to furnish parts that are usually non-obtainable from normal sources, thus enabling a collector to preserve, restore, and maintain a motor vehicle of historic or special interest.

A Street Cruiser, in Louisiana, is any automobile or truck 25 years or older, which has undergone some type of modernizing to include updating of the engine, transmission, drivetrain, and interior refinements, and any other modifications the builder desires, and is to be driven to events under its own power and to be used as a safe, non-racing vehicle for total family enjoyment.