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Guide to CARB Compliant Generators

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As the cost of gasoline rises, many individuals are looking for methods to cut costs and gain more freedom. One way to accomplish this is to use a generator that satisfies CARB standards.

A CARB-compliant generator is one that operates within the parameters set forth by the California Air Resources Board. These generators are more eco-friendly than others since they produce less pollution.


The abbreviation "CARB" is commonly used to refer to the California Air Resources Board, the governmental agency entrusted with preventing air pollution in the state of California.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) was established in 1967 and is responsible for enforcing regulations and programmes designed to reduce air pollution throughout the state.

These programmes and regulations include setting emission standards for vehicles, establishing smog check protocols, and offering financial incentives for the development of clean fuel technologies.

One of CARB's most well-known initiatives is the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) rule, which requires automakers to sell a quota of electric, hydrogen fuel cell, and other zero-emission vehicles in California.

However, CARB's efforts are not without controversy. The agency's sometimes heavy-handed attitude to regulation has been criticized, and some businesses have complained that its requirements are excessively costly and difficult to implement. 

However, CARB is a vital player in California's efforts to enhance air quality and prevent climate change, and its activities are certain to have lasting and far-reaching effects on the state's environment.

CARB-compliant generators meet or exceed the requirements of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In order to receive CARB compliance certification, generators must emit no more than 0.5 milligrammes of nitrogen oxides per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated.

This is far lower than the EPA's emission standards of 1.0 g of nitrogen oxides per kilowatt-hour.

As more and more states pass equivalent emissions laws, the market for CARB-compliant generators is rapidly growing. For this reason, natural gas-powered generators are the most popular choice among CARB-compliant generators.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a CARB-Compliant Generator?

GENMAX Portable Inverter Generator, 7250W Super Quiet Gas Propane Powered Engine with Parallel Capability, Remote/Electric Start, Ideal for Home backup power.EPA &CARB Compliant (GM7250iEDC)

When looking for a generator that complies with CARB standards, there are a few key factors to consider. First, think about the generator's physical dimensions. Two is the fuel type used by the generator. The third most important factor is the generator's loudness.

The generator's size is critical in ensuring it can generate adequate power for all of the tools you intend to use. Because different fuels are easily accessible in different parts of the country, the generator's fuel is vital. The noise level is crucial since you don't want a generator that is too noisy.

CARB-compliant generators can be found in a variety of wattage ratings and fuel types. The decibel level of a CARB-Compliant generator varies with its size and kind, but in general, they are very quiet nowadays.

Which states are subject to CARB regulations?

While CARB is the abbreviation for the California Air Resources Board, other states have joined forces to pass similar emission rules for their respective areas. States are taking note of California's leadership on clean air and enacting similar policies in an effort to catch up.

To date, California's emission regulations have been ratified by the District of Columbia and 14 other CARB states. Some of the other states that make up CARB besides California are:

  1. Colorado
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. Maine
  5. Maryland
  6. Massachusetts
  7. New Jersey
  8. New York 
  9. Oregon
  10. Pennsylvania
  11. Rhode Island
  12. Vermont
  13. Virginia 
  14. Washington 
  15. Washington D.C. 

Minnesota, New Mexico, and Nevada are among the additional states working on CARB state legislation.

What Kind of Requirements Does CARB Have for Generators?

Craftsman C0010030 3,000-Watt Gas-Powered Portable Generator - Reliable & Versatile - Quiet Operation - Ideal for Outdoor Activities - Powered by Generac - 50 State/CARB Compliant

The local air districts throughout the state are responsible for conducting air quality assessments. Thus, they collaborated to establish the CARB standards for stationary and mobile power sources.

As a result, air pollution from Small Off-Road Engines (SORE) is mitigated. This is accomplished by carefully monitoring the following important sections.

Emissions: Burning fossil fuels in most engines is inefficient and contributes to pollution. Consequently, several potentially harmful gasses are released. Fuel injection, crankcase vent lines, and carburetors are only some of the variables that must be adjusted for optimal performance in order to ensure clean combustion.

Evaporative Emissions: The release of reactive gasses and hydrocarbons into the environment can be caused by gas usage from fuel tanks and lines. High-quality materials, a carbon canister, and a pressure-release valve system are required to halt evaporative emissions.

It is possible for dangerous gasses to be released into the atmosphere from fuel spills during use and refilling. Fuel leaks and spills can be decreased with updated gas can, gasoline cap, and other product designs and standards.

So, what distinguishes CARB compliance from non-compliance?

The process does not approve engines that do not meet CARB standards. The manufacturer has not taken all the necessary steps to be CARB compliant, despite the fact that it may comply with some CARB requirements.

As a result, it's conceivable the product isn't as energy and resource-efficient as CARB-compliant engines.

What are the signs that a generator meets CARB standards?

Check the many resources on the internet to see if your generator abides by CARB regulations.

Inspect the generators' emission stickers as part of a physical inspection. For example “This engine complies with [year] U.S. EPA EXH/EVP and [year] California SORE EXH/EVP regulations," the label will state something like that. The generator's emissions and air quality index will also be displayed.

Check out the Manufacturer's Website: You can also check the generator's compliance with CARB standards by visiting the manufacturer's website. If their items meet the CARB needs, they will include it as a feature of your generator in the description.

Online stores will highlight CARB compliance as a positive feature of the products they offer.

To what end is CARB compliance so vital?

WEN GN400i RV-Ready 4000-Watt Open Frame Inverter Generator, CARB Compliant, Black/orange

Pollutants that are harmful to the environment are produced as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel, or propane in an internal combustion engine. Over time, these emissions worsen air quality, reducing human well-being.

Therefore, in the 1990s, these regulations were expanded to include not only large engines like those found in cars and industries, but also smaller ones, like the ones found in generators. The following are some of the ways in which people can profit from using generators that are CARB-compliant.

Top-Notch Goods: Only premium metals and components are used in the construction of our CARB-compliant generators. This means they are the most efficient at using fuel, the most durable, and the cleanest in producing energy. As a result, these power generators are the most reliable available.

Reduced Air Pollution: If your generator is in line with California Air Resources Board (CARB) standards, using it during a blackout won't put your health at risk.

Stay Away from the Penalty Zone! Buying or selling a generator that doesn't meet state or municipal requirements will get you penalized with a costly fine.

It's safe to assume that other states' EPA compliance rules are equal or less strict than CARB, so if your generator meets CARB regulations. As a result, you can use it without worry in any other setting.


In contrast to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board has the most strict rules. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are abbreviated as EPA and CARB, respectively. Both groups work to reduce emissions and air pollution, although their approaches are slightly different.


The United States government has issued a set of regulations and suggestions meant to reduce hazardous emissions and discharge of pollutants in an effort to increase air quality nationwide. 

These regulations restricted the emissions that could be released from non-road diesel engines, which in turn influenced the modern generators we rely on. The generator manufacturing industry is gradually becoming more regulated, with stricter laws, more stringent controls, and EPA inspection (EPA).

Rather than enforcing these rules all at once, they were phased in over time. This allowed manufacturers to develop new equipment that satisfies EPA emission standards and regulations with as little disruption to their operations as possible.

Each stage necessitates using a rating system with tiers that corresponded to the engine's horsepower rating. As each stage was implemented, stricter limits were placed on emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), diesel particulate matter (DPM), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

Each of the four tiers has its own unique features.

Tier 1 was introduced progressively between 1994 and 1997, with a primary focus on diesel automobile engines.

Regulations for NOx, HC, diesel particulate matter, and NOx emissions tightened gradually from 2000 to 2005 under Tier 2 standards.

The phasing in of Tier 2 also imposed restrictions for the amount of sulfur allowed in gasoline and diesel fuel due to the fact that sulfur can hinder the performance of current exhaust treatment equipment such selective catalytic converters and particle filters.

All new diesel generators were required to be in compliance with exhaust pollution regulations by the beginning of 2007, which covered engines of 50 to 750 horsepower (hp). Known as tier 3.

Tier 4, the strictest regulating standard, was implemented gradually between 2008 and 2015; it requires a 90% reduction in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and diesel particulate matter (DPM), reductions made possible by advanced control technologies.

How EPA applies to generators

Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment 4650 Peak Watt Portable Generator, RV Ready 30A Outlet, Gas Powered, CARB Compliant

Under EPA Tier legislation and standards, backup emergency generators are held to a separate set of emission requirements than prime or continuous generators.

If you have a backup generator or are planning to install one in the case of an emergency, you may only need to comply with EPA Tier 2 and Tier 3 rules, rather than the more stringent Tier 4 regulations.

Because they are only needed for short periods of time during emergencies, backup emergency generators only need to comply with the less stringent Tier requirements.

The justification for this is that current emissions reductions from Tier 2 and Tier 3 generator engines are satisfactory, their yearly operating hours range from 200 to 500 hours, and their emissions have no impact on the local air quality.

It's important to keep in mind that while backup emergency generators don't fall under the purview of federal EPA Tier 4 regulation standards, state and local authorities may apply additional requirements. 

For instance, California may mandate that you meet environmental standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the Tier 4 level (if using a natural gas generator).

If your generator doesn't meet EPA standards, you don't have to replace it if you get an emission upgrade. The upgrade is essentially a diesel oxidation catalyst that is installed on the engine as an aftermarket part (or DOC for short).

Diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) are designed to oxidize hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and diesel particulate matter (DPM) in the gas phase (DPM). It changes the HC and CO in the air into CO2 and water vapor. In this way, less harmful gasses are released into the air.

With this upgrade, emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), diesel particulate matter (DPM), hydrocarbons (HC), and carbon monoxide (CO) are all reduced by up to 99%.

Getting your current generator up to EPA Tier 2 or Tier 3 compliance may be a viable alternative worth examining, but not all commercial generators will quickly attain EPA Tier 4 compliance with an update.


The mission of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is to "promote and safeguard human health, welfare, and natural resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollution," with an eye toward the state's financial situation.

Marking a portable generator as CARB Compliant indicates that it meets state requirements for emissions. Pollutant emissions from products that meet CARB standards will be lower than those of noncompliant products. Despite this, pollution continues to be generated.

About Tom Bell

Hey, I’m Tom, the owner of Generator Reviews! I built this website to help you get the very most out of your generator and select the correct one for your personal circumstances. This site contains reviews of virtually every generator, detailed buying guides, as well as maintenance advice to help you keep yours in tip-top shape!


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