Carb Compliant vs EPA: What Are They And How Do They Differ?

The health effects of air pollution imperil human lives. This fact is well documented - Edie Bernice Johnson 

Global warming and the continuing worldwide impact of carbon build-up in the earth’s atmosphere isn’t just a late-night campfire story that we tell to scare children or the ill-founded theory of crackpot, fringe idealists.

It’s a proven scientific fact and the damage that it continues to do is relentless, which is why the regulations concerning carbon emissions from all sorts of pollutants are becoming increasingly harsh and are being enforced in a stricter manner than ever before.

We’ve helped to bring our planet’s ecosystem to its knees and now we need to do whatever we can to help reverse the damage that has been done and restore the natural balance that has been thrown into disarray by our collective carbon footprint 

For most of us, the continuing drive to greatly reduce carbon emissions hasn’t had much of an impact on our daily lives. The only effect that it’s had on most people is in their choice of car, as the major, individual contributory factor to global warming comes from the tailpipe of our automobiles.

The internal combustion engine, as well as being the greatest single invention of the last two hundred years, has also been solely responsible for causing the most harm to the planet.

And that’s the major reason why national and state laws have been hard on vehicular emissions, as they’re not only trying to help to save the world, but they’re also attempting to reduce the amount of pollution in the air and improve the health and quality of life of every citizen who breathes it.

While the tougher emissions laws were first designed to combat and alleviate the strain that the increasing number of cars on the highway were having on the quality of the air that we breathe, they were later expanded, during the latter half of the nineteen nineties, to include smaller internal combustion engines.

That was when generators fell under the remit of the laws designed to govern and control the effect that carbon emissions and engine based pollutants were having on air quality.

And even though the level of emissions that a generator produces probably doesn’t feature too highly on your list of reasons to choose one, it should.

Because while you might not realize it, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification and CARB (California Air Resources Board) compliance can have a dramatic effect on how and where you can safely and legally use your generator. 

Who And What Is The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)?

First proposed by Richard Nixon at the tail end of the nineteen sixties and signed into being by executive order in nineteen seventy, the Environmental Protection Agency officially became a part of the US Government in December of the same year that Nixon signed said order. 

Headquartered in Washington and with ten regional offices and twenty-seven laboratories in the United States, the EPA’s mission is to protect human life and the environment by acting on the environmental laws passed by congress and writing and enforcing the regulations that make those laws a reality.

The EPA sets the national standards that states are supposed to follow but also lets each state set its own environmental regulations providing that they follow those laid down by the EPA.

They also provide the national environmental guidelines that corporations are supposed to abide by and can, and do, provide guidance for companies so that they fully understand said regulations. 

The EPA works according to the best scientific data available and uses that data to help guide national environmental policy.

In the last twenty years, the EPA has, primarily under the auspice of the Obama administration, vastly expanded its audit and has become far more involved in helping to regulate carbon emissions and pollutants from industrial and individual sources on both a state and national level.

Any product that might pose a pollution risk has to be thoroughly vetted and certified by the EPA before it is allowed to be sold on the domestic market.

Any motor, internal combustion engine, or hybrid power plant that is destined to be sold in America is thoroughly tested by both the manufacturer using the EPA guidelines and the EPA themselves before it is granted certification and made legally available for sale in the United States.

This means that the motor in any potential generator that you might be looking at buying has been tested and approved by the most stringent testing processes possible before being granted its Environmental Protection Agency certification. 

Even though many public health and environmental groups firmly believe that the EPA is helping to forge a better world and protecting tomorrow for future generations of Americans to enjoy, the EPA isn’t without its fair share of critics.

There are those who believe that while the EPA was set up with the best of intentions, it has hampered business and commerce by creating unnecessary regulations and red tape. 

Who And What Is CARB (California Air Resources Board)?

Often regarded as being one of the most forward-thinking states, California has its own set of environmental and pollution laws that were originally brought into being before any other state even began to think about the effect that pollution was having on air quality.

Having been forced to deal with smog problems in Los Angeles since the mid-nineteen forties, California was the first state to set up a specific department to attempt to regulate air pollution by monitoring the emission of both power plants and the industries based in Los Angeles. 

During research that it conducted in the nineteen fifties, Caltech (the California Institute of Technology) discovered that the major contributing factor to the poor air quality in the greatest Los Angeles area was in fact caused by the carbon-based emissions from the rapidly increasing number of automobiles in the state rather than industrial pollutants.

This led to the formation of the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, which made California the first state in America to regulate the level of pollution that internal combustion engines could produce and set the first exhaust emissions standards.

The California Air Resources Board was set up in ninety sixty-seven by the state’s then-governor, and future president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and combined the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is now a department within the much larger California Environmental Protection Agency. 

More rigid and far less flexible than the EPA regulations, CARB’s guidelines that were set to control acceptable levels of air pollution famously led to the state becoming notorious within the automotive industry, as cars that were destined for sale in California had to conform to a set of standards that vehicles didn’t have to elsewhere. 

While California is the only state in America that legally enforces CARB’s air pollution regulations, eleven other states have adopted the relations that CARB created rather than the rules that the EPA created.

And in case you’re wondering which states have followed California’s lead, they are Oregon, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington, and New York.  

What is CARB Compliance?

CARB compliance means that a generator meets the emission standards and guidelines that the California Air Resources Board established.

It means that any generator that is CARB compliant produces fewer pollutants than it’s EPA certified counterparts and runs far more cleanly and greenly. 

Widely recognized as being the most ecologically friendly and demanding set of pollution regulations and laws in the United States, any generator that has been certified by CARB is a far more attractive prospect for anyone looking to play their part in making the world a better place to live in. 

A Better Tomorrow - Why CARB and EPA Regulations Matter

There are many different factors that you should take into account when you’re choosing a new portable generator, and while efficiency and the amount of power that they produce will always be at the top of every list of generator requirements, CARB and EPA compliance should be equally important for a number of reasons. 

Air quality is one of the single greatest widespread threats to human health and life in the modern world. Both CARB and EPA compliance are designed to minimize the effect and impact that any pollutants and emissions that portable generators produce will have on air quality.

The higher the emissions standards, the lower the pollutants are, and the lower the pollutants are, the better the quality of the air that we breathe on a daily basis is.

And the better the quality of the air is, the healthier that everyone who breathes it will be. This results in less strain on, and demand for medical services, which in turn translates to lower insurance premiums for everyone. 

Generators that are built to conform to CARB and EPA standards are usually designed, engineered, and manufactured to a much higher standard as they’re made to run more efficiently and far longer than non-compliant generators are.

While it means that portable generators that conform to either or both sets of regulations are more expensive and will leave a much greater dent in your bank balance when you first purchase them, due to the higher standards that they been made to, they’re also more durable and will last far longer than generators that don’t follow or comply with EPA and CARB standards.

And if your generator lasts longer, and does what it’s supposed to do more efficiently, then in the long-run, it’s going to cost you far less. 

If you do decide to use a non-compliant generator anywhere in the US, you could be digging a legal hole for yourself that it’ll be nearly impossible to climb out of.

The standards set by the EPA are a national set of regulations that every state follows, so if your generator doesn’t conform to them, just firing it up could result in a court appearance, a fine, and even in some cases, an enforced vacation in the local jail.

However, if you decide to fire up an EPA certified portable generator that isn’t CARB compliant in California or any of the eleven other states that have chosen to follow California's lead, you could also find yourself in a world of legal trouble.

The only way to be sure that any potential portable generator is legal to use in any and every state in the US is by making sure that it’s CARB compliant before you invest your power making future in it.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry and spend your money wisely in the first place if you don’t want the law to catch up with you and make you spend even more of your hard-earned dollars further down the road. 

CARB Compliant vs EPA - And The Winner Is…

At the end of the day, both the EPA and CARB were set up to enforce a set of rules and regulations that were, and are, designed to make the lives of Americans better by helping to create and sustain a better environment for everyone.

So, trying to find a winner in a race in which contestants are competing for the same prize, is more than a little difficult.

Having said that, because the EPA’s remit covers the nation as a whole, it is designed to be less stringent and far more pliable, which is partly why they give individual states the power to increase and enforce the guidelines that they’ve set as they see fit and to the best of their ability.

While they’re strict according to the standards set by the rest of the Western World, the EPA’s guidelines aren’t as concise or unrelenting as those created by CARB.

With more than seventy years of experience in writing laws created to combat the danger posed by air pollution under its collective belt, California was always going to be far more serious and strict when it came to enforcing its environmental laws.

CARB’s regulations are much more direct and focused than the EPA’s are and are far more rigid and inflexible. But they have led to a significant improvement in the air quality everywhere in the State, which is why eleven other members of the union gladly followed suit and adopted the CARB guidelines as state law.  

Besides, if you want to be able to hit the open road with your portable generator and legally use it anywhere and everywhere that you can, it needs to be CARB compliant.

That means that the only way to be the victor in this non-combative competition in which everyone wins is by making sure that your portable generator is fully CARB compliant.