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All You Need to Know About Forklift Emissions

  • July 31, 2013

All You Need to Know About Forklift Emissions

California Air Resources Board Regulations
Is your fleet CARB Compliant?

Forklift Emissions

The California Air Resources Board’s initiative to reduce air pollution in California is affecting many local businesses operating medium to large heavy equipment fleets. In May of 2006, the Air Resources Board in California (CARB) voted to adopt new regulations on medium to large fleets of industrial equipment and forklift emissions standards, affecting most equipment with old internal combustion engines. In a study done, 37% of all mobile emission sources come from off-road equipment. The intent of this regulation is to encourage equipment manufacturers to design trucks with cleaner engines, and owners with older obsolete equipment to retrofit their engines with cleaner models to decrease the fleet’s average emissions. Click  Here for the initial Press Release

According to a press release from the CARB, the estimated reduction in smog-forming hydrocarbon and NOx (oxides of nitrogen) emissions in 2020 will be 6.2tons per day which is equivalent to removing more than 200,000 cars from the road.

Below is a breakdown of the forklift emissions standards and requirements:

  • The type of equipment affected by this compliance are categorized as off-road, Class 4 or 5 rider trucks with Large-spark Ignited (LSI) engines, more than 25 horsepower, and fueled by gasoline, propane, or compressed natural gas. Also, tow tractors, sweepers and scrubbers, and airport ground support equipment. Not Diesel fueled trucks or portable equipment.
  • The emission regulation rates are distributed by fleet size:

-Small fleets = 3 or less trucks
-Medium fleets = 4 to 24 trucks
-Large fleets = 25+ lift trucks

 With this compliance, Small fleets are considered exempt from this compliance which CARB estimates about 70 percent of all forklift fleets fit the Small fleet category with 3 or less trucks.

  •  A calculation for each individual forklift emissions are represented by a number assigned by CARB based on engine type, age, etc.  Those numbers are averaged together to calculate your fleet’s compliance number, the oldest internal combustion forklift in your fleet will get the highest number, newer IC forklifts a lower number, and electric forklifts will be assigned a 0, (and are a great way to bring your entire fleet average down).  Contact CARB directly for additional information or call us for help calculating whether your fleet is in, or out, of compliance.

Forklift Emissions Chart

  • If you are unable to be CARB Compliant before the deadline there are certain instances in which you may request a two-year compliance extension.
  •  Beginning in 2012 the Air Resources Board was authorized to begin visiting operations with a penalty for non-CARB compliant fleets of $500 per day per piece of equipment.

 CARB Compliant Exemptions and Exclusions:

 Your fleets’ forklift emissions average may be exempt! In addition to small fleets, there are several other exclusions to this rule. If your fleet is a rental or lease that operates less than 30 calendar days per year, the fleet is CARB Compliant exempt.  If your fleet has limited hours of annual use, approximately less than 200 hours it may be excluded (Contact your local forklift dealer for more information). Also excluded from the CARB Compliance requirement are Boneyards and other Retired Equipment.

Forklift Emissions Resources

Timeline of CARB updates –

Frequently Asked Questions –


 The fastest way to rid of forklift emissions is to go green Click here to find out about electric forklifts


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