Breaking Down CARB: What It Is and Why it Matters

Iram Ibrahim – Regulatory Compliance Manager, Wheels Donlen

 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the oldest and most successful state agency responsible for combating climate change and protecting the public from harmful pollutants. CARB sets annual emissions caps and offers incentives to encourage businesses to maintain and operate fleets that limit the impact on air quality and climate at-large. All fleets should become familiar with CARB – although the rules apply to businesses and vehicles registered in the State of California, it has and does set the standard for other programs across the country and the world.

 

CARB’s Expanding Influence

 

Over the years, CARB has become the recognized authority on the regulation of motor vehicle emissions and is the most important influence in developing a federal program. If you’re wondering why your business outside of California is subject to “CARB” requirements, it is because at least 15 states have adopted California's vehicle standards and others are in the process of doing so. Notably, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, Vermont, Washington D.C., New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Colorado have all adopted California’s vehicle emission standards, including the GHG standards for commercial motor vehicles.

 

Why Focus on Commerce?

 

CARB standards have been codified to compel commercial entities to operate their businesses (and fleets) to align with the larger sustainable freight transport initiative in California. Per the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “light-duty vehicles (including passenger cars and light-duty trucks) [are] by far the largest category, with 58% of GHG emissions, while medium- and heavy-duty trucks [make] up the second largest category, with 24% of emissions.” These statistics illustrate precisely why many states are following suit behind California.

 

In Canada, the provinces have also codified GHG and emissions cap regulations to combat climate change. For example, in Newfoundland and Labrador, emissions control caps are allocated per fixed variables including engine size, vehicle model and year, and GVWR.

 

Why? It’s all about mitigating climate change through transportation and business use policy. Heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), particularly those powered by diesel engines, are a significant portion of the emissions from highway vehicles. Non-compliance will expose a motor carrier to tax liabilities and other sanctions.

 

Feel free to contact us with any regulatory compliance questions you may have.

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