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News for January 23, 2022

California Air Resources Board Updates Regulations, Bans RV Generators

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In an effort to meet zero-emission standards in the future, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on Thursday approved a measure that will prohibit the sale of gas-powered equipment. Under the updated regulations, RV generators would have to comply with the strict standards beginning 2024. 

According to CARB’s release, the measure would require most newly-manufactured small off-road engines such as those found in leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and other equipment to be zero-emission starting in 2024. The board believes that the engines are “highly polluting” despite their small size.

“Portable generators, including those in recreational vehicles, would be required to meet more stringent standards in 2024 and meet zero-emission standards beginning in 2028,” the statement reads.

The RV Industry Association on Monday published a call-to-action to fight California’s proposed RV generator ban, claiming the ban will result in a significant loss of RV sales in California.

In the same call-to-action statement, RVIA expressed its belief that zero-emission solutions are “deemed at this time to be neither technologically feasible nor cost-effective”.

The association then urged members of the community to testify in a hearing held yesterday (December 9), believing that as more people testify, the better chances are for the board to recommend CARB staff to amend the proposed regulation. It even drafted some talking points for the hearing.

However, the California board was firm in its decision, voting for the approval of the measure.

The revision to CARB’s existing small off-road engine regulations first adopted in 1990, applies to manufacturers and will affect new equipment only or those to be manufactured in 2024 onwards.

Californians are still allowed to use their current CARB-compliant gasoline-powered Small Off-Road Engines (SORE) equipment, as per the regulating body’s release. 

“There will be no ‘ban’ on using older models or used equipment purchased in the future. Older models on store shelves can also be purchased even if gasoline-powered,” the statement continued.

As explained on the state’s air resources board’s website, SOREs are spark-ignition engines rated at or below 19 kilowatts. Engines in this category are often found in lawn and garden equipment and also in outdoor power equipment and specialty vehicles. 

In a release, CARB Chair Liane Randolph said that the board’s decision was a significant step towards improving California’s air quality and that it will also be beneficial to the health of equipment operators and those nearby by eliminating exposure to harmful fumes.

The regulating body further explains that the volume of SORE’s smog-forming emissions has exceeded that of light-duty passenger cars and is projected to be nearly twice those of passenger cars in ten years. These regulations will reduce emissions of smog-forming emissions by 72 tons per day, CARB explained.

The amended regulation will set SORE emission standards to zero in two phases:

  • First, emission standards will be zero for model year (MY) 2024 and all subsequent model years. Zero emission standards will apply to engines used in all equipment types produced for sale in California, except generators and large pressure washers. Emission standards for generators and large pressure washers will be more stringent than the existing standards by 40-90 percent starting in MY 2024, but not zero.
  • The second phase will be implemented starting in MY 2028 when the emission standards for generators and large pressure washers will be zero.

California’s regulating board also announced that incentive funds will be available to commercial purchasers of new zero-emission equipment through CARB’s Clean Off-Road Equipment Voucher Incentive Project (CORE), which was created to accelerate the deployment of cleaner off-road technologies.

$30 million has been allocated to be dedicated to sole proprietors and other small landscaping businesses in California to help them purchase zero-emission small off-road equipment, including leaf blowers, lawnmowers, and string trimmers.

The California Air Resources Board is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards.

Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.

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