Anyone operating a business, especially one with a fleet and heavy equipment is subject to the many state and federal regulations designed to protect workers, the community and the environment. Environmental regulations related to air pollution, water quality, hazardous materials, and waste management will vary depending on your industry, location, the goods you carry, and your vehicles. Compliance with these regulations is essential to avoid penalties and maintain a positive reputation for your business.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is responsible for setting and enforcing air pollution standards in California. California’s air pollution regulations are typically more stringent than federal standards. However, CARB is one of the most influential bodies for environmental regulations for the US logistics industry with 12 other states following their recommendations. One of CARB’s critical focus areas is reducing vehicle emissions.

The fleet emission laws related to CARB vary depending on fleet type and size. The laws aim to reduce California vehicle emissions focusing on heavy-duty diesel trucks and light-duty vehicles. Fleets operating in California must comply with these regulations and report their emissions annually to avoid penalties.

CARB encourages using alternative fuel vehicles, such as electric, hydrogen, and natural gas vehicles. Businesses that operate these vehicles may be eligible for incentives and grants to help offset the cost of purchasing and operating these vehicles.

CARB has set emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel trucks, which must meet specific emission limits based on age and usage. Businesses that operate these trucks must comply with these standards, including using cleaner fuels or retrofitting vehicles with emission control technology.

CARB also has emissions standards for light-duty vehicles, including light-duty trucks and passenger cars, with standards for meeting certain emission limits that include using cleaner fuels, hybrid or electric vehicles, or meeting set emission limits.

Through the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation, CARB aims to make electric trucks available by setting requirements for medium-and heavy-duty truck manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) as a percentage of their annual sales. The ACT regulation has a phase-in period that starts 2024 models and ramps up over time, with the ultimate goal of achieving 100% ZEV sales by 2045.

ZEV sales requirements for manufacturers in CA under ACT

  • 5% ZEV sales by 2024
  • 9% ZEV sales by 2025
  • 30% ZEV sales by 2030
  • 50% ZEV sales by 2035
  • 100% ZEV sales by 2045

This means that, manufacturers in California are required to sell increasing percentages of electric trucks over time. While the ACT applies only to manufacturers, it will enable increased adoption of electric trucks in California as more ZEVs become available to businesses seeking to meet their sustainability goals.

CARB rules can significantly impact distributors, particularly those operating in California and the 12 other states (listed below) following California’s air pollution regulations. These states are adopting CARB like regulations for a variety of reasons, including the desire to reduce air pollution, address climate change, and improve public health. By adopting these regulations, these states can set more ambitious goals for reducing emissions from vehicles and other sources.

  1. Colorado
  2. Connecticut
  3. Maine
  4. Maryland
  5. Massachusetts
  6. New Jersey
  7. New York
  8. Oregon
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Rhode Island
  11. Vermont
  12. Washington

The regulations can affect distributors in several ways:

  1. Equipment standards: CARB has established equipment standards for equipment including heavy-duty diesel trucks, forklifts, and refrigeration units. These standards require using cleaner engines or retrofitting older equipment to reduce emissions.
  2. Reporting and compliance: Businesses that operate in California or other states that have adopted CARB’s regulations must comply with reporting requirements related to emissions and equipment standards. This can involve submitting reports on emissions and equipment use and maintaining records and documentation to demonstrate compliance.
  3. Penalties for non-compliance: CARB has the authority to enforce penalties for distributors that do not comply with the regulations. These penalties can include fines, the revocation of operating licenses, and other consequences.
  4. Competitive advantage: Distributors that comply with CARB’s regulations may have a competitive advantage over those that do not. Customers may prefer to work with distributors prioritizing environmental sustainability and compliance with air pollution regulations.

Have questions about how to be compliant with your fleet? Want to stay ahead of the curve? Get in touch with Double Green at