California: Regulatory Background

California: Regulatory Background


California is the only state vested with the authority to develop its own emission regulations, although they are still required to apply for a waiver from the federal government. Engine and vehicle emission regulations are adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a regulatory body within the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA). Other states have a choice to either implement the federal emission standards, or to adopt California requirements. States that adopted California Clean Car Standards—including the California LEV II and GHG emission standards—are known as Section 177 States.




All exhaust emissions standards and test procedures for Passenger Cars, Light-Duty and Medium-Duty Vehicles are found in Title 13 Section 1960.1 or 1961.

Federal Context – California was the only state in the US to implement emissions standards for motor vehicles prior to the Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970. For this reason, the federal government granted California permission to set its own vehicle emissions standards as long as they met or exceeded federal levels. Under the Federal Air Quality Act and CAA Section 209, the state of California is required to request a waiver from the EPA Administrator in order to implement any proposed standards. Under this provision, CARB has requested and received over 50 waivers. CAA Section 177 authorizes other states to adopt the California standards; 13 states as well as the District of Columbia have done so.

Nonroad Engines– Effective May 14, 2003, the definition of nonroad engines was changed to also include all diesel powered engines – including stationary ones – used in agricultural operations in California. This change applies only to engines sold in the state of California; stationary engines sold in other states are not classified as nonroad engines.

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