California Air Resources Board

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California Air Resources Board
California Air Resources Board 2017 logo.png
Logo of the California Air Resources Board
Agency overview
Formed 1967
Preceding agencies
  • Bureau of Air Sanitation
  • Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board
Jurisdiction California
Headquarters 1001 I Street Sacramento, California
Employees 1,365[1]
Annual budget $581.1 million[1]
Agency executive
Parent agency California Environmental Protection Agency

The California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB or ARB, is the "clean air agency" in the government of California. Established in 1967 when then-governor Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford-Carrell Act, combining the Bureau of Air Sanitation and the Motor Vehicle Pollution Control Board, CARB is a department within the cabinet-level California Environmental Protection Agency.

The stated goals of CARB include attaining and maintaining healthy air quality; protecting the public from exposure to toxic air contaminants; and providing innovative approaches for complying with air pollution rules and regulations. CARB has also been instrumental in driving innovation throughout the global automotive industry through programs such as its ZEV mandate.

One of CARB's responsibilities is to define vehicle emissions standards. California is the only state permitted to issue emissions standards under the federal Clean Air Act, subject to a waiver from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Other states may choose to follow CARB or federal standards but may not set their own.[2]

In February, 2018, Mary D. Nichols, the Chair of CARB, threatened legal action if the Trump Administration moved to eliminate California's ability to set its "own clean air transportation standards."[3]


CARB's governing board is made up of 14 members, soon to be 16 with 2 members being non-voting.

Six of the governor-appointed board members are chosen from regional air pollution control or air quality management districts, including one each from[4]:

Three governor-appointed board members are experts in automotive engineering, currently Dan Sperling; science, agriculture, or law, currently John Eisenhut; and medicine, currently John R. Balmes, M.D.. The governor's three remaining appointees are members of the public, including an expert in air pollution control or one of the fields mentioned above.

The two legislature-appointed board members work directly with communities affected by air pollution. They are currently Diane Takvorian and Dean Florez, appointed by the Assembly and Senate respectively.

Organizational structure

CARB has nine major divisions:[5]

  • Administrative Services Division
  • Enforcement Division
  • Mobile Source Control Division
  • Emissions Compliance, Automotive Regulations and Science Division
  • Monitoring and Laboratory Division
  • Office of Information Services
  • Air Quality Planning and Science Division
  • Research Division
  • Toxics and Transportation Division
  • Industrial Strategies Division

Air Quality Planning and Science Division

California Air Resources Board Laboratory, Los Angeles, in 1973

The division assesses the extent of California's air quality problems and the progress being made to abate them, coordinates statewide development of clean air plans and maintains databases pertinent to air quality and emissions. The division's technical support work provides a basis for clean air plans and CARB's regulatory programs. This support includes management and interpretation of emission inventories, air quality data, meteorological data and of air quality modeling.[6]

The Air Quality Planning and Science Division has five branches:

Atmospheric Modeling & Support Section

The Atmospheric Modeling & Support Section is one of three sections within the Modeling & Meteorology Branch. The other two sections are the Regional Air Quality Modeling Section and the Meteorology Section.[6]

The air quality and atmospheric pollution dispersion models[7][8] routinely used by this Section include a number of the models recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The section uses models which were either developed by CARB or whose development was funded by CARB, such as:

  • CALPUFF – Originally developed by the Sigma Research Company (SRC) under contract to CARB. Currently maintained by the TRC Solution Company under contract to the U.S. EPA.
  • CALGRID – Developed by CARB and currently maintained by CARB.[9]
  • SARMAP – Developed by CARB and currently maintained by CARB.[10]

Role in reducing greenhouse gases

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Program

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Program (also known as Fueling Alternatives) is funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), offered throughout the State of California and administered by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE).[11]

California zero-emissions vehicle

The CARB ZEV program was enacted by the California government to promote the use of zero emission vehicles.[12] The program goal is to reduce the pervasive air pollution affecting the main metropolitan areas in the state, particularly in Los Angeles, where prolonged pollution episodes are frequent.[13] The first ruling was the 1990 Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV I) Program.[13][14]

The first definition has its origin in the California ZEV rule, adopted as part of the 1990 Low-Emission Vehicle (LEV I) Program mandated by CARB.[13][14] The ZEV regulation has evolved and been modified several times since 1990, and several new partial or low-emission categories were created and defined as follows:[14][15][16][17]

  • LEV (Low Emission Vehicle): The least stringent emission standard for all new cars sold in California beyond 2004.
  • ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle): 50% cleaner than the average new 2003 model year vehicle.
  • SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle): These vehicles emit substantially lower levels of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter than conventional vehicles. They are 90% cleaner than the average new 2003 model year vehicle.
  • PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle): Meets SULEV tailpipe standards, has a 15-year / 150,000 mile warranty, and zero evaporative emissions. These vehicles are 80% cleaner than the average 2002 model year car.
  • AT PZEV (Advanced Technology PZEV): These are advanced technology vehicles that meet PZEV standards and include ZEV enabling technology. They are 80% cleaner than the average 2002 model year car.
  • ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle): Zero tailpipe emissions, and 98% cleaner than the average new 2003 model year vehicle.

The Low-Emission Vehicle Program is currently under revision to define modified ZEV regulations for 2015 models.[14][18][19] CARB estimates the ZEV program will result in 15% ZEV sales by 2025. The share remained at 3% between 2014 and 2016. Battery vehicles receive 3 or 4 credits, while fuel cell cars receive 9. As of 2016, a credit has a market value of $3-4,000, and some automakers have more credits than required.[20][21] CARB voted unanimously in March 2017 to require automakers to average 54.5 mpg for new cars in 2025.[22]

Low-carbon fuel standard

The Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) requires oil refineries and distributors to ensure that the mix of fuel they sell in the Californian market meets the established declining targets for greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2-equivalent grams per unit of fuel energy sold for transport purposes. The 2007 Governor's LCFS directive calls for a reduction of at least 10% in the carbon intensity of California's transportation fuels by 2020. These reductions include not only tailpipe emissions but also all other associated emissions from production, distribution and use of transport fuels within the state. Therefore, California LCFS considers the fuel's full life cycle, also known as the "well to wheels" or "seed to wheels" efficiency of transport fuels.[13][23] The standard is aimed to reduce the state’s dependence on petroleum, create a market for clean transportation technology, and stimulate the production and use of alternative, low-carbon fuels in California.[24]

On April 23, 2009, CARB approved the specific rules for the LCFS that will go into effect in January 2011.[25][26] The rule proposal prepared by its technical staff was approved by a 9-1 vote, to set the 2020 maximum carbon intensity reference value to 86 grams of carbon dioxide released per megajoule of energy produced.[24][27]

PHEV Research Center

The PHEV Research Center was launched with funding from the California Air Resources Board.

See also

California Air Resources Board


  1. 1.0 1.1 ""2015-16 Budget of California"". Retrieved January 1, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Vehicle Emissions California Waivers and Authorizations". United States Environmental Protection Agency. August 2, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Russ Mitchell (February 2, 2018). "Legal 'war' promised if Trump tries to clip California's right to set air standards". LAT Times. Retrieved February 4, 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. CARB's Divisions
  6. 6.0 6.1 ARB's Planning and Technical Support Division Archived 2006-09-23 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed February 28, 2015.
  7. Turner, D.B. (1994). Workbook of atmospheric dispersion estimates: an introduction to dispersion modeling (2nd ed.). CRC Press. ISBN 1-56670-023-X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Beychok, Milton R. (2005). Fundamentals of Stack Gas Dispersion (4th ed.). author-published. ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. CALGRID Model
  10. CARB's SARMAP Model Archived 2006-09-23 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "Incentive Program for Alternative Fuels and Vehicles". California Air Resources Board. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2011-11-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program". Union of Concerned Scientists. 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Sperling, Daniel and Deborah Gordon (2009). "Two billion cars: driving toward sustainability". Oxford University Press, New York: 24, 189–191. ISBN 978-0-19-537664-7. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Zero-Emission Vehicle Legal and Regulatory Activities: The ZEV Program Timeline". California Air Resources Board. 2011-10-14. Retrieved 2014-09-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Fact Sheet: California Vehicle Emissions" (pdf). California Air Resources Board. 2004-04-08. Retrieved 2009-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. Sherry Boschert (2006). "Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will Recharge America". New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, Canada: 15–28. ISBN 978-0-86571-571-4. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> See the box "Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate Timeline", pp. 23-28
  17. Christine & Scott Gable. "What is a ZEV - Zero Emissions Vehicle?". Hybrid Carts & Alt Fuels. Retrieved 2008-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "California Air Resources Board Votes to Modify ZEV Program in Short-Term; Complete Overhaul to Begin for New ZEV II". Green Car Congress. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2009-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program". California Air Resources Board. 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-04-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Rory Carroll and Alexandria Sage (2016-09-01). "California's zero-emission vehicle program is stuck in neutral". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2017-07-26 – via Reuters. Unknown parameter |dead-url= ignored (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Program". California Air Resources Board. 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Proposed Regulation to Implement the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Volume I: Staff Report: Initial Statement of Reasons" (PDF). California Air Resources Board. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-04-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Wyatt Buchanan (2009-04-24). "Air Resources Board moves to cut carbon use". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-04-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. The Associated Press (2009-04-24). "Calif. Approves Nation's 1st Low-Carbon Fuel Rule". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[permanent dead link]
  27. UNICA press release (2009-04-24). "Sugarcane Ethanol Passes Critical Test in California". World-Wire. Archived from the original on 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2009-04-25. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links