What's a CARB-Compliant Generator? - The Inverter Store
What does CARB compliant mean for generators?2020-08-05T22:49:14-07:00

Project Description

It’s easy to take clean, fresh air for granted. You might not connect the air you breathe with the generator you choose, but they’re more closely linked than it seems. If you’ve seen the term “CARB Complaint” in specifications for a generator, you might wonder what that means. This guide breaks down what exactly CARB means, why you should care about it and why to choose a CARB-compliant generator vs. non-compliant models.

What Is CARB?

CARB stands for California Air Resources Board. The state agency was formed in 1967 to regulate air quality and pollution. California’s focus on pollutants and clean air goes much further back, though, beginning in the 1940s with the Los Angeles County Air Pollution District. In the 1950s, California Institute of Technology conducted research that pinpointed emissions from internal combustion engines as the main culprit of air pollution. As a result, California was the first state to introduce tailpipe emission standards.


The Environmental Protection Agency is a federal agency that oversees all issues of pollution in the country, including problems with air and water. This agency formed in 1970 and built on the headway CARB was making toward a cleaner environment in California. The Federal Clean Air Act was the EPA’s first foray into regulation of combustion engine emissions.

While EPA standards must be met by any engine made or sold in the U.S., California is the only state where CARB standards are legally required. However, many other states have adopted CARB standards, which are much stricter than those from the EPA. New York, Rhode Island, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oregon, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts all require adherence to CARB’s higher standards.

What Does CARB Compliant Mean on a Generator?

A CARB-compliant generator is one that has been certified to meet those strict regulations from the California agency. Because a generator is basically a combustion engine that burns fuel, its operation emits toxins and particulates into the atmosphere. Generators that meet CARB standards generally burn that fuel more efficiently and put out fewer harmful emissions than those not compliant with CARB standards. These machines tend to be safer and run cleaner than non-compliant generators – and they can be more expensive as well.

Why Choose a CARB-Complaint Generator vs. Non-Compliant?

Why should you choose a CARB-complaint generator? This question is particularly appropriate if you don’t live in California or one of the other 11 states that have adopted CARB standards. It may seem like selecting a generator that meets the EPA’s clean air standards would be good enough. There are at least three reasons you should consider a CARB-complaint generator vs. non-compliant models:

  1. The best equipment available – Generators that meet CARB standards tend to be some of the best machines on the market. They’re designed and built with high-quality components that produce the cleanest energy possible. On top of that, CARB-compliant generators tend to be durable and reliable while maintaining highly efficient fuel consumption, which saves you money in the long run.
  2. Your own health and safety – Choosing a CARB-complaint generator keeps you and your family safer and healthier. That’s because these generators pose fewer safety risks while in operation and won’t endanger your family’s lives with heavy pollutants.
  3. A cleaner environment for everyone – Everyone wants clean air and a healthy planet, since air pollution has a big impact on people’s respiratory health. Anytime we can make choices that help keep toxins or pollutants out of the air, we’re taking a step toward cleaner air.




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