California CARB Compliance: What Fleet Owners Need to Know

As of Jan. 1, the California Department of Motor Vehicles will no longer register diesel vehicles that have engines from 2009 or earlier and weigh more than 14,000 pounds. This is the latest development in a 15-year-old rule from the California Air Resource Board (CARB) that aims to reduce diesel-related air pollution that can cause cancer. 

Fleets that haven’t replaced their old engines, converted engines to run on alternative fuel, or purchased newer-model trucks now must either decommission their trucks or risk running afoul of California CARB compliance.   

What Vehicles Are Subject to CARB Compliance? 

Any vehicle that the CARB rule covers — regardless of its state of origin — must comply when it’s within the state of California. That obligation extends to brokers or carriers, who must verify that a truck is CARB-compliant before hiring or dispatching it. 

The rule includes exceptions for vehicles that are solely for personal use, and for vehicle owners that have purchased replacement engines or vehicles but are still awaiting delivery from the manufacturer.  

Similar Regulations in Other States

Several other states have either adopted California’s emissions standards or created similar standards. California’s standards are considered to be the most stringent, which means that trucks that are CARB-compliant would also be compliant with similar rules in other states. 

What Are the Penalties for Not Being CARB Compliant? 

Fines for non-compliance can be costly, especially if CARB finds that a company has knowingly violated the rule.

In 2028, CARB fined two Wisconsin-based transportation companies for non-compliance, with one company paying $100,000, and the other paying $52,500. 

What Resources are Available for Carriers That Need to Retrofit Trucks? 

The cost of converting an entire fleet to be CARB-compliant may be unmanageable for some businesses. However, there are resources available for companies that need assistance. 

For small fleets, the Carl Moyer Voucher Incentive Program provides funding of up to $520,000 for replacing vehicles. Other resources include the Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program, which helps farmers comply with CARB, and the Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program.

Another resource (that’s not specific to California) is the voucher program established by the STEER Act, which allotted $100 million in annual funding from 2022 through 2026 to retrofit eligible fleets. 

What’s Next for Truck Emissions Standards?

As of March 2023, CARB was working on rules that would require all new trucks to be “zero-emissions” by 2045. That means manufacturers would be unable to sell diesel- or gas-powered trucks beginning that year and fleets would need to begin transitioning to zero-emissions trucks before then. 

Minimizing Costs for Green Initiatives

Fleet owners and managers are understandably concerned about the costs of CARB compliance. TruckLabs offers a way for fleets to trim costs now and in the long-term, with TruckWings. 

TruckWings is compatible with most tractor-trailers, so whether you’re looking to save money on diesel or hoping to maximize the distance your electric truck can travel on a single charge, TruckWings can help. 

Unlike roof fairings and other static solutions, TruckWings is a smart aerodynamic device that deploys at high speeds to close the gap between tractor and trailer, instantly reducing drag and trailer sway. At lower speeds, TruckWings collapses flat against the tractor, so drivers don’t lose the maneuverability they need for low-speed travel. 

Find out how TruckWings can significantly reduce costs for your fleet.  

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