Being CARB Compliant means that your equipment meets the current emission standards set by CARB. CARB-compliant equipment produces less harmful emissions, toxins, and particulates, and also results in a cleaner and safer air quality.

If you see “CARB Compliant” on a product label, it means that the item meets certain environmental standards set by this board.

What does this mean for consumers?

Well, if you’re trying to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle and want to make sure your purchases don’t contribute to air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, then look for products with the CARB symbol! It’s easy as peeling back a sticker or checking out a website before making your purchase!

What is CARB?

CARB is the California Air Resources Board which is the “clean air agency” that is a government agency in the state of California. CARB’s primary goals are to attain and maintain healthy air quality, which includes protecting the general public from exposure to toxins and contaminants in the air.

CARB is mostly known for providing innovative incentives to the private sector, local governments, nonprofits, and individuals to offset environmental impacts such as greenhouse gases from smog-causing vehicles and power plants. In addition, it offers funding for research on regional air pollution problems.

Why You Should Care?

As of April 2011, CARB regulations affect over 30 states and several other countries. The effects of CARB regulations are far-reaching and it means that any engine that uses a combustible fuel (gas, diesel, or propane) needs to be CARB certified.

This certificate ensures that these engines comply with state regulations stipulating the levels of harmful gasses that are emitted from the exhaust systems of these engines.

By law, every engine that combusts fuel–including gas, diesel, or propane engines–needs to carry a CARB certificate.

So if you’re buying something that runs on gas, propane, or diesel, make sure the CARB (California Air Resources Board) certifies the engine.

What Is The Difference Between CARB and The EPA?

EPA stands for the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. EPA compliance is a federal certification that applies to all internal combustion engines manufactured and sold within the United States. The U.S. EPA is a government organization that regulates air pollution, fuel efficiency, and other environmental standards for vehicles.

Although today most people hear the term CARB compliance and automatically assume it is “EPA Compliance”. It is not, though they are very similar.

CARB is an abbreviation for California Air Resources Board, also known as the California Environmental Protection Agency (the agency of California that works to control air pollution there). CARB is the most stringent environmental regulator in the United States.

EPA and CARB are not the same. The EPA certifies all vehicle emissions and implements national emission standards, while the California Air Resources Board (CARB) enforces its own separate fuel economy and emission regulations in California that are stricter than those of the federal government.

How Does CARB Affect Generators?

Generators are a useful tool during power outages but not without a cost. There are two main emissions that come from generators: Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Oxides.

The Department of Energy estimates that equipment and motor vehicle fuel combustion accounts for around 82% of the carbon monoxide released into the atmosphere (vehicles account for 67%).

Generators release nitrogen oxides, which are one of the main components of smog. Smog is defined as a mixture of smoke and fog, most commonly due to smoke from vehicle emissions.

While they’re very useful during power outages, generators can be a threat to you and your family’s health. They emit one of the only inorganic compounds that are 100% fatal.

CARB regulations mean that anyone who uses these types of generators needs to comply with air pollution control guidelines. These engines must not only be compliant with state laws but also adhere to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emission standards.

What Does CARB Compliant Mean on a Generator?

A CARB-compliant generator is a type of portable generator that meets the standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The primary standard used to determine compliance is called Tier 2. It requires all new mobile sources of pollution to meet an emissions standard of 2000 grams/mile for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Tier 3 sets a level of 1510 grams/mile, which is applicable to some new generators sold after January 1, 2015.

How Does CARB Regulate Generators?

CARB regulations for stationary and portable generators were developed in collaboration with the state’s local air districts to safeguard regional air quality. The California Air Pollution Modeling System (CAPMS) was used to estimate the number of emissions from generators in each region.

From this, CARB created regulations and required that manufacturers find ways to reduce emissions. Generators are regulated by CARB in four separate groups: gas-fired, diesel-fired, gas oil-fired, and direct alternator sets.

The newest generator technology meets all current regulations and can be used during emergencies at any time without penalty.

What Does CARB Compliant Mean on a Lawn Mower?

Lawn mowers that are CARB compliant have an EPA/CARB-approved emissions system, meaning the engine of the mower is compliant with certain federal emission standards.

You basically need to ensure that the carburetor of your lawnmower is the correct one. This will guarantee that your lawnmower will be able to produce emission standard compliant exhaust gases.

A CARB compliant lawn mower is environmentally safe and helps you follow the law.

Can I Use a Non-CARB-Compliant Generator in California?

California residents have long been subject to more rigorous, higher emission standards than other states. Once the CARB rules go into effect, they will not only restrict what generators you can use, but also who you can sell or buy them from.

That being said, there are still a number of generator exemptions that will allow you to keep your current product if you already own it.

CARB has been cracking down on generator sales in the state of California for several years now. Because generators that meet CARB standards are considered to have lower emissions and better fuel economy, they are more expensive than non-compliant units. As a result, some consumers prefer to buy non-compliant units instead.

However, if you live in California and are required to meet CARB regulations, it is important to only buy from authorized dealerships or resellers since the penalties for buying a non-compliant generator can be severe.


For the average individual, the CARB certification process is not something that they need to be aware of. However, it can play an important role for those who are looking to invest in diesel engine equipment for their business.

If this is you, then you will want to have a basic understanding of how CARB regulations will impact your business.

CARB regulations help protect the health and environment of California. If you’re a business owner in the state, it’s important to understand how CARB compliance can impact you and your facility.