• What is the Difference Between CARB Compliant and EPA?

    Carb and EPA are two standards that relate to emissions. The EPA regulations started in 2003, and have been updated over time to cover a wider range of engines, including small engines. As of 2013, all new models of gasoline-powered engines (including small equipment) were covered by the EPA. This article will help you find out what generator will suit your needs.


    The CARB regulations exist in addition to the EPA regulations and were developed in accordance with the California Clean Air Plan. CARB regulations have historically been stricter than EPA regulations and cover very small handheld engines, and non-handheld regulations, although in recent years the EPA regulations have been tightened up.


    EPA Versus CARB


    EPA stands for Environmental Protection Agency. It is a national standard, and all manufacturers that wish to sell goods in the United States must make sure that their engines comply with EPA regulations. There is a certification process that ensures that engines are EPA compliant.


    CARB is the California Air Resources Board. Engines that are sold in California must comply with those regulations. Individual states can choose between EPA and CARB, and many states do opt to enforce CARB in instances where the CARB rules are stricter than the EPA rules.


    Small Off-Road Engines and Handhelds


    The rules apply to small off-road engines and handheld engines and are updated regularly as new forms of fuel reach the market and as new devices are made. The California Air Resources Board has put together an exhaustive list of different kinds of engines, including those for logging equipment, lawn and garden tools, industrial equipment, golf carts and other specialist equipment. There are other classifications for things such as watercraft and recreational vehicles, and the regulations that cover each are quite detailed and strict.


    Penalties for Non-Compliance


    The EPA imposes strict penalties for non-compliance - the penalties are in the form of a fine to the manufacturer for each engine that is sold in the United States that is non-compliant. The CARB standards have their own fines. EPA rules state that even if an engine earned EPA certification, and then remained unchanged after that certification if the EPA rules change and the manufacturer continues to sell the engine in its original form, then they are in breach of the rules. The onus is on the manufacturer to keep up to date with the latest changes in the regulations.

  • Emission Control


    While the engines used in smaller off-road and handheld devices are comparatively low-powered, there are a lot of these engines on the market, and they can contribute to a huge amount of pollution. Until the early 2000s, these engines were not strictly controlled, and because of this, the number of emissions from nonroad engines reached the point where in many cities it was contributing to around 15 to 20 percent of the pollution in the cities. The emissions that the government is concerned about include hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.


    - Hydrocarbons: these are partially burned, or unburned, fuel molecules which can react in the atmosphere and produce ozone at the ground level. They are also a component of smog. There are some concerns that hydrocarbons can be carcinogenic and that they can also contribute to other health conditions. Hydrocarbon pollution can occur when gasoline vapors escape the fuel tank, which can happen during refueling. Fuel spills are also responsible for some of this pollution.


    - Nitrogen Oxides: These are produced when nitrogen and oxygen are combined under high pressure and high-temperature conditions. They can react with hydrocarbons and produce ground-level ozone. They are thought to be a major cause of acid rain.

    - Carbon Dioxide: When carbon-based fuels, such as gasoline, are burned in an oxygen-rich environment, then carbon dioxide is produced. Carbon dioxide is not harmful to human health - indeed our own respiratory processes produce it. Plants will use carbon dioxide and release oxygen. However, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Carbon dioxide production should be kept to a minimum. The less fuel efficient an engine is, the more carbon dioxide it will produce.


    - Carbon Monoxide: If fuel is burned in an environment that does not have enough oxygen, and the combustion is incomplete, then carbon monoxide is produced. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and highly toxic. If people are exposed to carbon monoxide it will build up in their bloodstream and impair their blood's ability to transport oxygen around the body. This can eventually be fatal.

    - Particulate Matter: Diesel-fuelled vehicles will sometimes release microscopic airborne particles, which are what gives diesel exhaust its distinctive odor. These particles can damage the respiratory system when inhaled.


    EPA Tier 3


    The CARB and EPA standards are constantly being updated, with a goal of reducing emissions. The latest Pase III standards aim to drastically reduce the pollution from cars, trucks and other vehicles. They have required that companies reduce the sulfur content of gasoline, and that vehicle makers improve their emission control technology - improving catalytic converters, and setting new standards for vehicles in terms of fuel efficiency.


    Transport is the biggest source of air pollution across the United States, and the Tier 3 standards will offer huge public health benefits. Tier 4 standards have been introduced for improving Nox emissions and reducing particulate matter from diesel engines.

    The regulations are being improved and updated year after year, and have so far done a good job of ensuring that even as there are more cars on the road the emissions in total are reduced.


    As a buyer, you do not need to do anything to remain compliant with the law - however, if you care about the environment then it is a good idea to make an effort to ensure that any engines or vehicles that you purchase are indeed compliant. Check the website of the manufacturer or ask the retailer for confirmation if you have any concerns. They will be happy to answer any questions and to help you navigate the confusing legislation so that you can buy with confidence.