California Clean Truck Program: What It Means for Your Fleet

California clean truck program

If you operate a fleet that runs through California and haven’t already started thinking about the new California clean truck program, it’s time to get serious. Officially called California Air Resources Board (CARB) Clean Truck Check, this program took effect in January 2023. The program will impact any fleet that drives through California, regardless of where your business is based.

California’s clean truck program will roll out in phases throughout the remainder of 2023 before full implementation in 2024. That’s why it’s essential to take steps to optimize your fleet and protect your business as soon as possible. Gridline offers technology that can help you monitor your fleet’s performance so that you can proactively address problems before you face potential penalties.

About CARB Clean Truck Check

Anyone who drives a car must periodically have that vehicle smog checked to prove that it’s not excessively polluting the air. California’s clean truck program applies the same principle to heavy-duty vehicles.

The program regulates diesel and alternative fuel vehicles operating in California that weigh more than 14,000 pounds. Requirements apply not only to trucks with California license plates, but also to out-of-state vehicles and public vehicles operated by the federal, state, or local government.

Why is California implementing this program now after decades of improved air quality in some parts of the state? After all, today’s heavy-duty diesel vehicles have built-in systems for reducing emissions. Well, these systems can fail, leaving trucks to pollute freely until their next smog check. According to CARB, California’s clean truck program seeks to tighten controls over polluting vehicles by using:

  • Roadside emissions monitoring that screens for potentially high-emitting vehicles
  • Stronger emissions testing procedures that rely on onboard diagnostics data
  • Emissions checks and data reporting at designated intervals
  • Compliance verification requirements for freight contractors, seaports, and railyards

It’s clear from the written descriptions of this program that California is taking aim at poorly maintained heavy-duty trucks. The hope is to cut NOx emissions throughout the state by 81 tons per day and PM emissions by 0.7 tons per day in 2037. All of this will add up to cleaner air, resulting in better overall health and fewer premature deaths for California residents.

As we mentioned, California’s clean truck program is rolling out in phases. As of January 1, 2023, the state had set up roadside monitoring systems that measure emissions, with the goal of identifying high-polluting vehicles.

By mid-2023, all heavy-duty trucks will need to register with CARB for a certificate of compliance to operate in California.

By January 1, 2024, vehicles with on-board diagnostics (OBD) systems will need to be tested biannually. All data will be sent to CARB. Testing will increase to quarterly in 2027.

What This Means for Geotab and Gridline Customers

Once the testing requirements take effect at the beginning of 2024, you’ll have to prove to CARB that your vehicles are remaining in compliance. The more time-consuming and labor-intensive way will be to take your trucks to a smog checking facility and then send test results to CARB manually. Each check will take your trucks off the road temporarily.

The far more efficient way to keep your trucks in compliance will be to use a Clean Truck Check-certified telematics provider to submit your information to CARB automatically.

Geotab, a Gridline partner, is certified with California’s clean truck program and works through the OBD port in your trucks. The company has been engaged with CARB since 2021 and is optimizing its solution for when the testing requirements take effect in 2024. With Geotab, you can manage CARB compliance seamlessly during your normal daily operations with no extra time commitment for your staff.

Gridline Analytics helps you stay one step ahead of CARB’s requirements by enabling you to detect engine issues early. Automated alerts keep your fleet personnel informed so that they can take proactive steps to prevent catastrophic engine failure events. Gridline Analytics combined with your telematics can help you maximize engine health, make proactive repairs, and plan maintenance in ways that increase the productivity of your fleet—while helping you control costs.

Request Your Free Consultation

Remember, California’s clean truck program takes full effect on January 1, 2024. Take steps today to set up the telematics and analytics solutions that will help you stay in compliance with CARB’s requirements without hassling your staff or taking your trucks off the road.

Gridline is eager to help you achieve all of that and more. Request your free consultation.