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generator CARB vs EPA: what’s the difference?

What is a CARB and EPA compliant generator? China BISON will explain the differences between the two standards and help you make a better choice of generator.

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Generator emissions are by-products of fuel combustion, consisting mainly of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. These substances, when released into the atmosphere, can have detrimental effects on air quality and contribute to global warming.

Understanding and adhering to emission standards is not just about regulatory compliance; it’s about safeguarding our environment and promoting healthier air quality. Different regions have established specific standards to control these emissions, with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) being two significant regulatory bodies in the United States.

In today’s article, China BISON will delve into an interesting comparison: “What is a CARB and EPA compliant generator?“China BISON will explain the differences between the two standards and help you make a better choice of generator. So, if you want to make an informed, environmentally conscious decision on your next generator purchase, read on.

generator carb vs epa what's the difference

what is the EPA standards?

The environmental protection agency (EPA) is a federal agency responsible for protecting public health and the environment across the United States. It sets emission standards for all types of engines, including portable generators.

EPA’s emission standards for generators are divided into three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Introduced in 1997, these were the first set of standards aimed at reducing harmful emissions from non-road diesel engines.
  • Tier 2: Implemented between 2001 and 2004, these standards further reduced emissions.
  • Tier 3: Enforced between 2006 and 2008, they targeted non-road spark-ignition engines and equipment.
  • Tier 4: The most stringent standards currently in effect, introduced between 2008 and 2015, focus on reducing particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

what is the CARB standard?

The california air resources board (CARB) is part of the california environmental protection agency. It focuses on reducing air pollution and improving air quality within the state. CARB standards are generally more strict than EPA standards, reflecting California’s ongoing battle with air quality issues.

CARB’s emission standards for portable generators include requirements for both exhaust and evaporative emissions. These standards are designed to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants like hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).

more: What Is A Carb-Compliant Generator?

benefits of using a compliant generator

when choosing a generator, it’s essential to consider not just its power output and price, but also its environmental impact. By opting for a generator that meets EPA or CARB standards, you’re making a choice that benefits both you and the environment., Choosing a generator that complies with either EPA or CARB generator has several benefits:

  1. Environmental Impact: Compliant generators produce fewer harmful emissions, contributing to cleaner air and a healthier environment.

  2. Fuel Efficiency: Many compliant generators are designed to be more fuel-efficient, which can save you money over time.

  3. Regulatory Compliance: Using a compliant generator ensures that you’re adhering to federal or state regulations, helping you avoid potential fines or penalties.

  4. Health Protection: Reduced emissions mean lower exposure to harmful pollutants, protecting the health of those around the generator.

  5. Technological Advancements: Compliant generators often incorporate more advanced technology, such as electronic fuel injection, which can offer better performance and reliability.

what is the difference between carb and epa standards

what is the difference between CARB and EPA standards?

While both CARB and EPA aim to reduce harmful emissions, their standards and compliance requirements do differ in specific ways.

Emission Standards

EPA standards are nationwide regulations that have been steadily tightened over the years with different tiers. The most recent, Tier 4, has significantly reduced the allowable levels of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

On the other hand, CARB standards are stricter than EPA’s. They take into account not only exhaust emissions but also evaporative emissions, which are the fumes released from the fuel system when the engine is off. In addition, CARB-compliant generators often feature a charcoal canister that absorbs gas fumes from the tank, further reducing overall emissions.


The availability of compliant generators varies. EPA-compliant generators are widely available across the U.S., as these are federal regulations that apply to all states.

CARB-compliant generators, however, may not be as readily available outside of California. This is because these generators meet state-specific regulations that are more stringent than those required by the EPA. 


When it comes to cost, CARB-compliant generators tend to be more expensive than their EPA-compliant counterparts. This is primarily due to the additional technologies and components needed to meet CARB’s stricter standards, such as the charcoal canister for absorbing gas fumes.

However, it’s important to note that while CARB-compliant generators may have a higher upfront cost, they can potentially save money in the long run. These generators are often more fuel-efficient, leading to savings on fuel costs over time. They also contribute to reducing the environmental impact, a benefit that’s harder to quantify but equally important.

carb approved generator

Recommendations Based on Use Cases

  • Home Use: A medium-sized, CARB-compliant generator would be suitable. It provides sufficient power for most homes and is eco-friendly.
  • Commercial Use: Depending on the scale of operations, a larger EPA or CARB-compliant generator might be necessary. A diesel generator could be more cost-effective for large power needs.
  • Outdoor Recreational Use: A small to medium-sized, CARB-compliant generator is ideal. These generators are typically quieter and more portable, perfect for camping or RV use.

Remember, the right generator for you depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Consider all factors and choose wisely to ensure reliable power while minimizing environmental impact.


In this article, the BISON generator manufacturer addresses the importance of emission standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB.) EPA standards apply nationwide, while CARB standards are more stringent, targeting both exhaust and evaporative emissions and are particularly prevalent in California.

BISON generator manufacturers

As a leading manufacturer of generators, we pride ourselves on offering a wide range of EPA and CARB-compliant generators. We understand the importance of not just meeting power needs but also reducing environmental impact and maintaining regulatory compliance.

Remember, investing in a compliant generator isn’t just about meeting your immediate power needs—it’s a commitment to a greener and healthier environment. Choose wisely, choose us. Contact us today to find out more about China BISON range of EPA and CARB-compliant generators. Your journey towards reliable power and sustainable living starts here.

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