CARB Presents New Regulatory Programs and Regulations to Help Meet the State’s Carbon Neutrality Goals

On April 20, 2023, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) conducted a webinar to discuss the requirements of several new and existing regulatory programs designed to help the State achieve a carbon neutral future. The purpose of this discussion was to cover proposed program elements and strategies to achieve 100% zero-emission from off-road vehicles and equipment in California by 2035, and to elicit participation in CARB’s regulatory process.

As the lead agency for the development of climate change programs in California, CARB has adopted multiple programs and regulatory requirements designed to reduce the amount of particulate matter (PM) concentrations in California cities throughout the state with the most polluted air. As raised in this discussion, the Sacramento-Roseville region has ranked among the top 10 for ozone (smog), and short-term particulate pollution falls well above CARB’s 24-hour PM2.5 threshold at 20.8 in weighted average. Senate Bill 32 sets the State on an ambitious course to reduce climate-changing gases an additional 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and substantially advance toward 80% by 2050. For the transportation sector, a target of 100% zero-emissions vehicles sold in the state by 2045 has been set, and CARB’s 2022 Advanced Clean Fleets regulation is the latest set of regulations aimed at meeting this goal.

New / Existing Programs:

  • Heavy-Duty Inspection & Maintenance (HD I/M): This regulatory program is sometimes referred to as the “Clean Truck Check.” CARB will soon implement a more comprehensive heavy-duty vehicle inspection and maintenance (HD I/M) program that will require smog inspections for vehicles over 14,000 pounds traveling in California. Owners and operators of non-gasoline heavy-duty vehicles operating in California will be required to report fleet and vehicle information in an electronic database and pay a $30/vehicle annual compliance fee when the HD I/M electronic reporting system and database goes live later in 2023. The reporting system will apply to new vehicles when the program begins and will require testing twice a year starting in 2024.
  • Zero-Emission Forklifts (New): Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-79-20 directs CARB to develop and propose strategies to achieve 100% zero-emission from off-road vehicles and equipment in California by 2035. As part of this effort, CARB is developing a phase-out schedule for Class IV and V spark-ignition forklifts with lift capacity up to 12,000 lbs. based on classification and model year of engines. This measure is identified in CARB’s 2020 Mobile Source Strategy, State Implementation Plans, and Sustainable Freight Action Plan as one of several near-term actions intended to facilitate zero-emission equipment use in the off-road sector.
  • In-Use Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets (Off-Road): This is CARB’s existing regulatory mandate setting standards to reduce NOx and PM emissions from diesel-fueled off-road fleets operating in California. Recent amendments were approved by the Board in November, 2022. The regulation applies to all self-propelled off-road diesel fueled engines of 25 horsepower or greater and most two-engine vehicles. The latest proposed 15-Day changes to this regulation have been posted to CARB’s rulemaking page. Proposed amendments include a new tiered phase-out schedule for fleets; sets up prime contractor awarding bodies for testing; includes a renewable diesel use requirement; and contains a more simplified low-use exemption.
  • Large Spark-Ignition Engine Fleet Requirements Regulation: This regulation applies to operators of propane forklifts, sweeper/scrubbers, industrial tow tractors, and airport ground support equipment of at least 25 horsepower. Small fleets of three or less pieces of equipment from these categories are exempt; however, electric forklifts do count towards fleet size limits. Low-use exemptions also apply. There are reporting and labeling requirements under this regulation, and compliance credits are available for heavy-duty zero-emission forklift conversions from spark-ignition forklift platforms. CARB is currently accepting comments on this regulation that will go before the Board in September 2023.
  • Advanced Clean Trucks and Advance Clean Fleets (New): These regulations establish requirements applicable to the transportation sector as part of the Governor’s call for the elimination of new internal combustion passenger vehicles by 2035. Starting with the 2024 model year, all manufacturers of on-road vehicles sold in California must comply with the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales requirement. Under the Advanced Clean Fleets regulation, CARB is developing a medium- and heavy-duty zero-emission fleet regulation with the goal of achieving a zero-emission truck and bus fleet by 2045. Staff is currently working on additional amendments to include a 100% ZEV Sales Requirement for 2036 models instead of 2040 models; drayage truck registration and mileage requirements that apply to Class 7-8 drayage trucks; and high priority fleet changes and low NOx standards.
  • Finally, CARB discussed the new amendments to the Transportation Refrigerator Units (TRU) Airborne Toxic Control Measure approved on October 1, 2022. CARB staff has prepared a Regulatory Advisory for the 2022 Amendments to assist with compliance under the new requirements. To conclude, CARB has recently updated its In-Use Performance Standard to require new filters or alternative technology to meet compliance. Additional amendments are coming in 2025-26 to include more stringent PM emissions standards for TRU engines and box-trailer TRUs that will be presented for Board approval in 2025.

Contact: Brian Biering