California Laws and Incentives for Fuel Economy / Efficiency

The list below contains summaries of all California laws and incentives related to Fuel Economy / Efficiency.

Laws and Regulations

Fleet Vehicle Procurement Requirements

When awarding a vehicle procurement contract, every city, county, and special district, including school and community college districts, may require that 75% of the passenger cars and/or light-duty trucks acquired be energy-efficient vehicles. By definition, this includes hybrid electric vehicles and alternative fuel vehicles that meet California's advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT PZEV) standards. Vehicle procurement contract evaluations may consider fuel economy and lifecycle factors for scoring purposes. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25725-25726)

Vehicle Acquisition and Petroleum Reduction Requirements

The California Department of General Services (DGS) is responsible for maintaining specifications and standards for passenger cars and light-duty trucks that are purchased or leased for state office, agency, and department use. These specifications include minimum vehicle emissions standards and encourage the purchase or lease of fuel-efficient and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). On an annual basis, DGS must compile information including, but not limited to, the number of AFVs and hybrid electric vehicles acquired, the locations of the alternative fuel pumps available for those vehicles, and the total amount of alternative fuels used.

Vehicles the state owns or leases that are capable of operating on alternative fuel must operate on that fuel unless the alternative fuel is not available. Additionally, the California State and Consumer Services Agency, in consultation with DGS and other appropriate state agencies, must develop, implement, and submit to the California Legislature and governor a plan to increase the state fleet's use of alternative fuels, synthetic lubricants, and fuel-efficient vehicles. This must be done by reducing or displacing the fleet's consumption of petroleum products by 20% by January 1, 2020, as compared to the 2003 consumption level. DGS must also:

  • Take steps to transfer vehicles between agencies and departments to ensure that the most fuel-efficient vehicles are used and to eliminate the least fuel-efficient vehicles from the state's motor vehicle fleet;
  • Submit annual progress reports to the California Department of Finance, related legislative committees, and the general public via the DGS website;
  • Encourage other agencies to operate AFVs on the alternative fuel for which they are designed, to the extent feasible;
  • Encourage the development of commercial fueling infrastructure at or near state vehicle fueling or parking sites; and
  • Work with other agencies to incentivize and promote state employee use of AFVs through preferential or reduced-cost parking, access to electric vehicle charging, or other means, to the extent feasible.

(Reference Executive Order S-14-09, 2009, and California Public Resources Code 25722.5 - 25722.9)

Heavy-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations

Box-type trailers that are at least 53 feet long and the heavy-duty tractors that pull these trailers must be equipped with fuel-efficient tires and aerodynamic trailer devices that improve fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Tractors and trailers subject to the regulation must either use U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay certified tractors and trailers or retrofit existing equipment with SmartWay verified technologies. Vehicle owners must comply with these regulations when operating on California highways regardless of where the vehicles are registered. Exemptions apply for some local- and short-haul tractors and trailers. The compliance schedule depends on the type and age of the tractor or trailer. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95300-95311)

Point of Contact
Diesel Hotline
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)

Tire Inflation Requirement

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) enforces regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles operating inefficiently with under inflated tires. These regulations apply to vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. Automotive service providers performing or offering to perform automotive maintenance or repair services in the state must:

  • Check and inflate vehicle tires to the manufacturer recommended tire pressure rating, with air or nitrogen as appropriate, using a tire pressure gauge with a total permissible error of no more than plus/minus two pounds per square inch, when performing maintenance or repair;
  • Indicate on the vehicle service invoice that a tire inflation service was completed and specify the resulting pressure measurements;
  • Have access to a tire inflation reference published within the last three years; and
  • Keep a copy of the service invoice for at least three years and make the invoice available to ARB or an authorized representative upon request.
For more information, see the ARB Tire Inflation Regulation website. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 17, Section 95550)

Fuel-Efficient Tire Program Development

The California Energy Commission (CEC) must adopt and implement a state-wide Fuel Efficient Tire Program that includes a consumer information and education program and minimum tire efficiency standards. The CEC must consult with the California Integrated Waste Management Board on the program's adoption, implementation, and regular review. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25770-25773)