California Laws and Incentives for EVs

The list below contains summaries of all California laws and incentives related to EVs.

State Incentives

Plug-In Hybrid and Zero Emission Light-Duty Vehicle Rebates

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) offers rebates for the purchase or lease of qualified vehicles. The rebates offer up to $2,500 for light-duty zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles that the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved or certified. The rebates are available on a first-come, first-served basis to individuals, business owners, and government entities in California that purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Manufacturers must apply to ARB to have their vehicles included in CVRP. ARB determines annual funding amounts for CVRP, which is expected to be effective through 2023. For more information, including a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements, see the CVRP website. (Reference Assembly Bill 8, 2013)

Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Incentives

The California Energy Commission (CEC) administers the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP) to provide financial incentives for businesses, vehicle and technology manufacturers, workforce training partners, fleet owners, consumers, and academic institutions with the goal of developing and deploying alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies. The CEC must prepare and adopt an annual Investment Plan for the ARFVTP to establish funding priorities and opportunities that reflect program goals and to describe how program funding will be used to complement other public and private investments. Funded projects include:

  • Commercial alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) demonstrations and deployment;
  • Alternative and renewable fuel production;
  • Research and development of alternative and renewable fuels and innovative technologies;
  • AFV manufacturing;
  • Workforce training; and
  • Public education, outreach, and promotion.
For more information, see the ARFVTP website. (Reference Assembly Bill 8, 2013; California Vehicle Code 5205.5; California Health and Safety Code 44270-44274.7; and California Code of Regulations, Title 13, Chapter 8.1)

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) and High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lane Exemption

Compressed natural gas (CNG), hydrogen, electric, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) meeting specified California and federal emissions standards and affixed with a California Department of Motor Vehicles Clean Air Vehicle sticker may use HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. White Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available to an unlimited number of qualifying CNG, hydrogen, and electric vehicles. Green Clean Air Vehicle Stickers are available for the first 40,000 applicants that purchase or lease a qualified PHEV. Both stickers will expire January 1, 2019, or until federal authorization for HOV lane access expires. These vehicles are also exempt from toll charges imposed on HOT lanes, unless prohibited by federal law. For more information, including a list of qualifying vehicles, see the California Air Resources Board Carpool Lane Use Stickers website. (Reference Assembly Bills 266 and 286, 2013, and California Vehicle Code 5205.5 and 21655.9)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Fueling Infrastructure Grants

The Motor Vehicle Registration Fee Program (Program) provides funding for projects that reduce air pollution from on- and off-road vehicles. Eligible projects include purchasing AFVs and developing alternative fueling infrastructure. Contact local air districts for more information about available grant funding and distribution from the Program. Also see the Program website. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 44220 (b))

Low Emissions School Bus Grants

The Lower-Emission School Bus Program (Program) provides grant funding for the replacement of older school buses and for the purchase of air pollution control equipment for in-use buses. The California Air Resources Board must verify that the air pollution control devices reduce particulate matter emissions by at least 85% for each retrofitted school bus. Public school districts in California that own their buses are eligible to receive funding. Private school transportation providers that contract with public school districts in California to provide transportation services are also eligible to receive funding for the retrofit of in-use buses. New buses purchased to replace older buses may be fueled with diesel or an alternative fuel, provided that the required emissions standards specified in the current guidelines for the Program are met. Funds are also available for replacing on-board natural gas tanks on older school buses and for updating deteriorating natural gas fueling infrastructure. Commercially available hybrid electric school buses may be eligible for partial funding. For more information, see the Program website and contact local air districts to confirm funding availability. (Reference California Health and Safety Code 41081 and 44099)

Point of Contact
Lisa Jennings
Air Pollution Specialist, Lower-Emission School Bus Program
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (916) 322-6913
Fax: (916) 322-3923
ljenning@arb.ca.gov
http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/schoolbus/schoolbus.htm

Advanced Transportation Tax Exclusion

The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) provides a sales and use tax exclusion for qualified manufacturers of advanced transportation products, components, or systems that reduce pollution and energy use and promote economic development. Incentives are not available after June 30, 2016. For more information, including application materials, see the CAEATFA Sales and Use Tax Exclusion Program website. (Reference Assembly Bill 1422, 2013, and California Public Resources Code 26000-26017)

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Grants - Bay Area

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) will award grants to expand the availability of DC fast charge EVSE in the nine-county Bay Area. Eligible property owners and tenants must respond to the BAAQMD Request for Proposals (RFP). Up to $20,000 is available for each DC fast charger installed that meets program requirements; this includes a base award amount of $10,000 per qualifying EVSE installed and incremental bonus awards of up to $5,000 each year for the first two years of operation for any station that meets or exceeds minimum usage requirements. BAAQMD will accept proposals on a first come, first served basis, through June 30, 2014, or until funds are exhausted. For more information, including the RFP, see the DC Quick Charger Deployment Program website.

Employer Invested Emissions Reduction Funding - South Coast

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) administers the Air Quality Investment Program (AQIP). AQIP provides funding to allow employers within SCAQMD's jurisdiction to make annual investments into an administered fund to meet employers' emissions reduction targets. The revenues collected are used to fund alternative mobile source emissions/trip reduction programs, including alternative fuel vehicle projects, on an on-going basis. Programs such as low emission, alternative fuel, or zero emission vehicle procurement, and old vehicle scrapping may be considered for funding. For more information, including current requests for proposals and funding opportunities, see the AQIP website.

Point of Contact
Shashi Singeetham
Air Quality Specialist
South Coast Air Quality Management District
Phone: (909) 396-3298
Fax: (909) 396-3608
ssingeetham@aqmd.gov
http://www.aqmd.gov/trans/aqip.html

Technology Advancement Funding - South Coast

The South Coast Air Quality Management District's (SCAQMD) Clean Fuels Program provides funding for research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects that are expected to help accelerate the commercialization of advanced low emission transportation technologies. Eligible projects include powertrains and energy storage/conversion devices (e.g., fuel cells and batteries), and implementation of clean fuels (e.g., natural gas, propane, and hydrogen), including the necessary infrastructure. Projects are selected via specific requests for proposals on an as-needed basis or through unsolicited proposals. Approximately $10 million in funding is available annually with expected cost-share from other project partners and stakeholders. For more information, see the SCAQMD Research, Development, and Demonstration website.

Hybrid and Zero Emission Truck and Bus Vouchers - San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) contributed funds to the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) for eligible vehicles used in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley Air Basin. These "plus-up" vouchers range from $12,000 to $30,000, depending on the vehicle, and are in addition to California Air Resources Board voucher amounts. Vehicles must be domiciled in the air basin 100% of the time for at least three years. For more information, see the San Joaquin Valley Plus-Up website.

Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Rebate - San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the Drive Clean! Rebate Program, which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of eligible new vehicles, including qualified natural gas, propane, and plug-in electric vehicles. The program offers rebates of up to $3,000, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis for residents and businesses located in the SJVAPCD that purchase a qualified vehicle on or after March 15, 2012. For more information, including a list of eligible vehicles and other requirements, see the SJVAPCD Drive Clean! Rebate Program website.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Incentives - San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District administers the Public Benefit Grant Program, which provides funding to cities, counties, special districts (such as water districts and irrigation districts), and public educational institutions for the purchase of new AFVs, including electric, natural gas, and propane vehicles, as well as hybrid electric vehicles. The maximum grant amount allowed per vehicle is $20,000, with a limit of $100,000 per agency per year. Projects are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, see the Public Benefit Grant Program website.

Low Emission Vehicle Incentives and Technical Training - San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) administers the REMOVE II program, which provides incentives for cost-effective projects that result in motor vehicle emissions reductions and long-term impacts on air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. As of November 2013, REMOVE II is providing funding for vanpool agencies that reduce or replace single occupant vehicle commutes in the San Joaquin Valley. To participate, vanpool agencies must submit an application to SJVAPCD and sign a contract to become a Vanpool Voucher Incentive Program partner. REMOVE II also includes an Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Mechanic Training Component that provides incentives to educate personnel on the mechanics, operation safety, and maintenance of AFVs, fueling stations, and tools involved in the implementation of alternative fuel technologies. For more information, see the REMOVE II website and the AFV Mechanic Training Component website.

Utility/Private Incentives

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate - LADWP

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) provides rebates to commercial and residential customers toward the purchase of Level 2 or DC fast charge EVSE. Commercial customers who purchase and install EVSE for employee and public use can receive $750, $1,000, or $15,000, depending on the charger type. Residential customers who purchase or lease qualifying plug-in electric vehicles can receive $750. EVSE must be installed within the LADWP service area; rebates do not cover the cost of installation. Rebates are available to the first 2,000 approved customers. The program will be in effect through June 30, 2015, or until funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. For program guidelines and application materials, see the Charge Up L.A.! website.

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Rebate - GWP

Glendale Water and Power (GWP) offers a $200 rebate to the first 100 single-family residential customers that are electric vehicle owners and install a Level 2 240V charging station with a Safety Socket Meter Panel. For more information, see the Vehicle Home Charge Rebate Application.

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - SMUD

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers three discounted pricing plans to residential customers who charge PEVs. Options include time-of-use, whole house, and dedicated meter plans. For more information, see the SMUD PEV Pricing Plans website.

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - LADWP

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) offers a $0.025 per kilowatt discount for electricity used to charge PEVs during off-peak times. Residential customers who install a separate time-of-use meter panel will also receive a $250 credit. For more information, see the LADWP Electric Vehicle Incentives website.

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Rate Reduction - SCE

Southern California Edison (SCE) offers a discounted rate to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. Two rate schedules are available for PEV charging during on- and off-peak hours, the Home & Electric Vehicle Plan and the Electric Vehicle Plan. For more information, see the SCE Electric Vehicle Residential Rates website.

Clean Vehicle Electricity and Natural Gas Rate Reduction - PG&E

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) offers a discounted Residential Time-of-Use rate for electricity used for plug-in electric vehicle charging and natural gas vehicle (NGV) home fueling appliances. Special rates are also available for natural gas that residential customers compress using home fueling appliances. For more information, see the PG&E EV Rate Options and NGV Rates websites.

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) and Natural Gas Infrastructure Charging Rate Reduction - SDG&E

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) offers lower rates to customers for electricity used to charge PEVs. SDG&E's PEV Time-of-Use rates are available in two variations: EV-TOU-2 bills home and vehicle electricity use on a single meter; and EV-TOU bills vehicle electricity use separately, requiring the installation of a second meter. Lower rates are also available to customers who own a natural gas vehicle and use a qualified compressed natural gas fueling appliance at home. For more information about PEV Time-of-Use rates, see the SDG&E EV Rates and NGV Rates website.

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) Insurance Discount

Farmers Insurance provides a discount of up to 10% on all major insurance coverage for HEV and AFV owners. To qualify, the automobile must be a dedicated AFV using ethanol, compressed natural gas, propane, or electricity, or be a HEV. A complete vehicle identification number is required to validate vehicle eligibility. For more information, see the Farmers California Insurance Discounts website.

Laws and Regulations

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Open Access Requirements

EVSE service providers may not charge a subscription fee or require membership for use of their public charging stations. In addition, providers must disclose the actual charges for using public EVSE at the point of sale; allow at least two options for payment; and disclose the EVSE geographic location, schedule of fees, accepted methods of payment, and network roaming charges to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Exceptions apply.

If a national standards organization has not adopted interoperability billing standards by January 1, 2015, the California Air Resources Board may adopt such standards for network roaming payment methods for EVSE. Providers would be required to meet these standards within one year of adoption.

(Reference Senate Bill 454, 2013)

Mandatory Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Building Standards

The California Building Standards Commission (Commission) must adopt, approve, codify, and publish mandatory building standards for the installation of EVSE in parking spaces at multi-family dwellings and non-residential developments in the next edition of the California Building Standards Code, to be adopted after January 1, 2014. The Department of Housing and Community Development (Department) must provide the Commission with proposed standards for multi-family dwellings. The Commission and Department must use specified sections of the California Green Building Standards Code as a starting point for the standards and engage interested parties for further input. (Reference Assembly Bill 1092, 2013)

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Parking Incentive Programs

The California Department of General Services (DGS) and California Department of Transportation (DOT) must develop and implement AFV parking incentive programs in public parking facilities operated by DGS with 50 or more parking spaces and park-and-ride lots owned and operated by DOT. The incentives must provide meaningful and tangible benefits to drivers, such as preferential spaces, reduced fees, and fueling infrastructure. Fueling infrastructure built at park-and-ride lots is not subject to restricted use by those using bicycles, public transit, or ridesharing. (Reference California Public Resources Code 25722.9)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Parking Regulation

An individual may not stop, stand, or park a motor vehicle, or otherwise block access to parking, in a stall or space designated for the exclusive purpose of charging a PEV unless the vehicle displays a valid state-issued zero emission vehicle (ZEV) decal and is connected for electric charging purposes. For the ZEV decal application, see the California Department of Motor Vehicles ZEV Parking Decal Application website. (Reference California Vehicle Code 22511)

Public Utility Definition

A corporation or individual that owns, controls, operates, or manages a facility that supplies electricity to the public exclusively to charge light-duty battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or compressed natural gas to fuel natural gas vehicles, is not defined as a public utility. (Reference California Public Utilities Code 216)

State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation

State Agency Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Installation California state agencies must actively identify and pursue opportunities to install EVSE, and accommodate future EVSE demand, at state employee parking facilities in new and existing agency buildings. (Reference Executive Order B-18-12, 2012)

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Policies for Multi-Unit Dwellings

A common interest development, including a community apartment, condominium, and cooperative development, may not prohibit or restrict the installation or use of EVSE in a homeowner's designated parking space. These entities may put reasonable restrictions on EVSE, but the policies may not significantly increase the cost of the EVSE or significantly decrease its efficiency or performance. If installation in the homeowner's designated parking space is not possible, with authorization, the homeowner may add EVSE in a common area for their use. The homeowner must obtain appropriate approvals from the common interest development association and agree in writing to comply with applicable architectural standards, engage a licensed installation contractor, provide a certificate of insurance, and pay for the electricity usage associated with the EVSE. Any application for approval should be processed by the common interest development association without willful avoidance or delay. The homeowner and each successive homeowner of the parking space equipped with EVSE is responsible for the cost of the installation, maintenance, repair, removal, or replacement of the station, as well as any resulting damage to the EVSE or surrounding area. The homeowner must also maintain a $1 million umbrella liability coverage policy and name the common interest development as an additional insured entity under the policy. If EVSE is installed in a common area for use by all members of the association, the common interest development must develop terms for use of the EVSE. (Reference California Civil Code 1353.9)

Access to Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Registration Records

The California Department of Motor Vehicles may disclose to an electrical corporation or local publicly owned utility a PEV owner's address and vehicle type if the information is used exclusively to identify where the PEV is registered. (Reference California Vehicle Code 1808.23)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Infrastructure Information Resource

The California Energy Commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission, must develop and maintain a website containing specific links to electrical corporations, local publicly owned electric utilities, and other websites that contain information specific to PEVs, including the following:

  • Resources to help consumers determine if their residences will require utility service upgrades to accommodate PEVs;
  • Basic charging circuit requirements;
  • Utility rate options; and
  • Load management techniques.
(Reference California Public Resources Code 25227)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Infrastructure Evaluation

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), in consultation with the California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, electrical corporations, and the motor vehicle industry, must evaluate policies to develop infrastructure sufficient to overcome barriers to the widespread deployment and use of PEVs. The PUC must adopt rules to address the following:

  • The impacts on electrical infrastructure and any infrastructure upgrades necessary for widespread use of PEVs, including the role and development of public charging infrastructure;
  • The impact of PEVs on grid stability and the integration of renewable energy resources;
  • The technological advances necessary to ensure the widespread use of PEVs and what role the state should take to support the development of this technology;
  • The existing code and permit requirements that will impact the widespread use of PEVs and any recommended changes to existing policies that may be barriers to the widespread use of PEVs;
  • The role the state should take to ensure that technologies employed in PEVs work harmoniously and across service territories; and
  • The impact of widespread use of PEVs on achieving the state's greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals and renewables portfolio standard program, and what steps should be taken to address the possibility of shifting emissions reductions responsibilities from the transportation sector to the electrical industry.
(Reference California Public Utilities Code 740.2)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Promotion Plan

All state agencies must support and facilitate the rapid commercialization of ZEVs in California. In particular, the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, Public Utilities Commission, and other relevant state agencies must work with the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative and the California Fuel Cell Partnership to establish benchmarks to achieve targets for ZEV commercialization. These targets include:

  • By 2015, all major metropolitan areas in California will be able to accommodate ZEVs and have infrastructure plans and streamlined permitting in place;
  • By 2020, the state will have established adequate infrastructure to support one million ZEVs;
  • By 2025, there will be 1.5 million ZEVs on the road in California and clean, efficient vehicles will displace 1.5 billion gallons of petroleum fuels annually; and
  • By 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector will be 80% less than 1990 levels.
The ZEV promotion plan also directs the state fleet to increase the number of ZEVs in the fleet through gradual vehicle replacement. By 2015, ZEVs should make up at least 10% of fleet light-duty vehicle (LDV) purchases and by 2020, at least 25% of fleet LDV purchases should be ZEVs. Vehicles with special performance requirements necessary for public safety and welfare are exempt from this requirement.

(Reference Executive Order B-16, 2012)

Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Charging Requirements

New PEVs must be equipped with a conductive charger inlet port that meets the specifications contained in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standard J1772. PEVs must be equipped with an on-board charger with a minimum output of 3.3 kilovolt amps. These requirements do not apply to PEVs that are only capable of Level 1 charging, which has a maximum power of 12 amperes (amps), a branch circuit rating of 15 amps, and continuous power of 1.44 kilowatts. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1962.2)

State Transportation Plan

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) must update the California Transportation Plan (Plan) by December 31, 2015, and every five years thereafter. The Plan must address how the state will achieve maximum feasible emissions reductions, taking into consideration the use of alternative fuels, new vehicle technology, and tailpipe emissions reductions. Caltrans must prepare and submit an interim report to the California Transportation Commission and to the Senate and Assembly committees related to transportation, environmental quality, natural resources, and local government by December 31, 2012. Caltrans must consult and coordinate with related state agencies, air quality management districts, public transit operators, and regional transportation planning agencies. Caltrans must also provide an opportunity for general public input. Caltrans must submit a final draft of the Plan to the legislature and governor. A copy of the interim report is available on the Caltrans website. (Reference California Government Code 65071-65073)

Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Standards

California's LEV II exhaust emissions standards apply to Model Year (MY) 2004 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles meeting specified exhaust standards. The LEV II standards represent the maximum exhaust emissions for LEVs, Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, and Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, including flexible fuel, bi-fuel, and dual-fuel vehicles when operating on an alternative fuel. MY2009 and subsequent model year passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles must meet specified fleet average greenhouse gas (GHG) exhaust emissions requirements. Each manufacturer must comply with these fleet average GHG requirements, which are based on California Air Resources Board calculations. Bi-fuel, flexible fuel, dual-fuel, and grid-connected hybrid electric vehicles may be eligible for an alternative compliance method.

In December 2012, ARB finalized new regulatory requirements, referred to as LEV III, which allows vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for model years 2017-2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years. See the LEVII and LEV III Program website for more information. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1961-1961.3)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Production Requirements

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) certifies new passenger cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles as ZEVs if the vehicles produce zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) under any and all possible operational modes and conditions. Manufacturers with annual sales greater than 60,000 vehicles must produce and deliver for sale in California a minimum percentage of ZEVs for each model year as follows:

Model Year (MY)ZEV Requirement
2010-201111%
2012-201412%
2015-201714%

Manufacturers with annual sales between 4,501 and 60,000 vehicles may comply with the ZEV requirements through multiple alternative compliance options that include producing low emission vehicles and obtaining ZEV credits. Manufacturers with annual sales of 4,500 vehicles or less are not subject to this regulation.

ARB's emissions control program for MY 2017 through 2025 combines the control of smog, soot, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) and requirements for ZEVs into a single package of standards called Advanced Clean Cars. In December 2012, ARB finalized new regulatory requirements that allow vehicle manufacturer compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GHG requirements for MY 2017 through 2025 to serve as compliance with California's adopted GHG emissions requirements for those same model years.

The accounting procedures for MY 2018 through 2025 are based on a credit system as shown in the table below. The minimum ZEV requirement for each manufacturer includes the percentage of passenger cars and light-duty trucks produced by the manufacturer and delivered for sale in California. The legislation also includes opportunities for compliance with transitional zero emission vehicles (TZEVs), which must demonstrate certain exhaust emissions standards, evaporative emissions standards, on-board diagnostic requirements, and extended warranties.

MYZEV Requirement
20184.5%
20197%
20209.5%
202112%
202214.5%
202317%
202419.5%
202522%

For more information, see the ZEV Program website. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 1962.1-1962.2)

Alternative Fuel and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Retrofit Regulations

Converting a vehicle to operate on an alternative fuel in lieu of the original gasoline or diesel fuel is prohibited unless the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has evaluated and certified the retrofit system. ARB will issue certification to the manufacturer of the system in the form of an Executive Order once the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with the emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. A manufacturer is defined as a person or company who manufactures or assembles an alternative fuel retrofit system for sale in California; this definition does not include individuals wishing to convert vehicles for personal use. Individuals interested in converting their vehicles to operate on an alternative fuel must ensure that the alternative fuel retrofit systems used for their vehicles have been ARB certified. For more information, see the ARB Alternative Fuel Retrofit System website.

A hybrid electric vehicle that is Model Year 2000 or newer and is a passenger car, light-duty truck, or medium-duty vehicle may be converted to incorporate off-vehicle charging capability if the manufacturer demonstrates compliance with emissions, warranty, and durability requirements. ARB issues certification to the manufacturer and the vehicle must meet California emissions standards for the model year of the original vehicle.

ARB is considering amendments to the alternative fuel certification procedures for new and in-use vehicles and engines. For more information, see the Proposed Amendments website. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, Section 2030-2032, and California Vehicle Code 27156)

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)

Alternative Fuel and Vehicle Policy Development

The California Energy Commission (CEC) must prepare and submit an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) to the governor on a biannual basis. The IEPR provides an overview of major energy trends and issues facing the state, including those related to transportation fuels, technologies, and infrastructure. The IEPR also examines potential effects of alternative fuels use, vehicle efficiency improvements, and shifts in transportation modes on public health and safety, the economy, resources, the environment, and energy security. The IEPR's primary purpose is to develop energy policies that conserve resources, protect the environment, ensure energy reliability, enhance the state's economy, and protect public health and safety. For the current IEPR, see the CEC California's Energy Policy

Beginning November 1, 2015, and every four years thereafter, the CEC must also include in the IEPR strategies to maximize the benefits of natural gas in various sectors. This includes the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. (Reference Assembly Bill 1257, 2013, and California Public Resources Code 25302 and 25303.5)

Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Requirements

Through its Mobile Sources Program, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has developed programs and policies to reduce emissions from on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicles through the installation of verified diesel emission control strategies (VDECS) and vehicle replacements.

An on-road heavy-duty diesel vehicle rule (truck and bus regulation) requires the retrofit and replacement of nearly all privately owned vehicles operated in California with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 14,000 pounds. School buses owned by private and public entities and federal government owned vehicles are also included in the scope of the rule. The requirements include a phase-in period for the installation of VDECS on certain heavier in-use vehicles that began January 1, 2012 with the replacement of older vehicles starting January 1, 2015. By January 1, 2023, nearly all vehicles must have engines certified to the 2010 engine standard or equivalent. A drayage/port truck rule regulates heavy-duty diesel-fueled vehicles that transport cargo to and from California's ports and intermodal rail facilities. The rule requires that certain drayage trucks be equipped with VDECS and that all applicable vehicles have engines certified to the 2007 emissions standards by January 1, 2014. A public transit agency fleet rule regulates public transit fleets and sets emissions reduction standards for new transit vehicles. A solid waste collection vehicle rule regulates solid waste collection vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or more that operate on diesel fuel, have 1960 through 2006 engine models, and collect waste for a fee. The fleet rule for public agencies and utilities rrequires fleets to install VDECS on vehicles or purchase vehicles that run on alternative fuels or use advanced technologies to achieve emissions requirements by specified implementation dates.

A summary of the requirements for diesel truck and equipment owners can be found in the ARB Multi-Rule Summary fact sheet. (Reference. (Reference California Code of Regulations Title 13, 2021-2027)

Point of Contact
Diesel Hotline
California Air Resources Board
Phone: (866) 6DIESEL (634-3735)
8666diesel@arb.ca.gov