CARB FAQs

What is CARB and why are stricter emission standards imposed in California?

CARB – the California Air Resources Board – was formed in 1967 to improve California's air quality by legislating emissions. CARB's formation was the result of a 1967 federal act allowing California to set its own emissions standards in recognition that California faced unique and severe air pollution problems. All states must provide the EPA a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to bring their air quality into acceptable standards. However, California believes it cannot meet this requirement without implementing substantially more stringent emissions standards than those imposed by the EPA. The following link provides further explanation about CARB: http://www.arb.ca.gov/html/brochure/arb.htm.

What does the CARB star rating mean and how does it relate to EPA regulations?

CARB emission standards are similar to EPA in that they regulate certain aspects of engine emissions that affect air quality. CARB standards, however, are stricter than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards because they call for an accelerated emissions reduction schedule in California. For example, the 2001 CARB one-star standard is equivalent to the 2006 EPA standard. Most outboard manufacturers chose to certify engines to the CARB two-star and three-star levels because they were well below the EPA standards. EPA "credits" can be earned by manufacturers' engines that are certified below the EPA certification levels, and those credits can be used to offset negative credits imposed on engines that are certified above the EPA standards. The illustration below explains in further detail what each of the CARB star ratings mean.

CARB'S One Star label identifies engines that meet CARB's 2001 exhaust emission standards. Engines meeting these standards produce 75% fewer emissions than conventional carbureted two-stroke engines. These engines are equivalent to the US EPA's 2006 standards for marine engines.

The Two Star label identifies engines that meet CARB's 2004 exhaust emission standards. Engines meeting these standards produce 20% fewer emissions than One Star (Low Emission) engines.

The Three Star label identifies engines that meet CARB's 2008 exhaust emission standards. Engines meeting these standards produce 65% fewer emissions than One Star (Low Emission) engines.

 

How do the star ratings affect the sale of outboards in California?

Essentially, consumers in California may purchase any outboard offered for sale by a boat/engine dealer in California. The burden of meeting outboard emissions requirements for California and anywhere else lies solely with the engine manufacturers.

In short, each outboard engine manufacturer is responsible for meeting a corporate average plan. This plan requires the average emissions across a manufacturer's entire outboard model lineup (i.e., 2.5 horsepower to 350 horsepower) sold to California boat/engine dealers to be at or below the CARB standard in effect for a given certification year. The corporate average is based on the emissions certification level and unit sales volume of each engine family and is weighted based on engine power. For example, beginning in 2008 manufacturers will be required to meet the three-star level. That means the average sales-weighted emissions level of the manufacturer's engine fleet sold in California must be equal to or below the three-star standard.

Does that mean all outboard models require a three-star rating?

No, it does not. It's important to note that star-rating requirements are applicable only to engines sold in California. And, two-star outboards can be sold even in California as long as the engine manufacturer can maintain a positive corporate average plan.

Can two-star Verado engines be sold in California in 2008 and later?

Absolutely. Any two-star outboard engine can be sold in California as long as the engine manufacturer meets the corporate average plan for the certification year with the mix of outboard product the manufacturer sells into California. For example, Mercury maintains a positive corporate average that is carefully managed to ensure dealers in California can continue to sell a full range of outboard engines, including Verado.

What Mercury outboards can be sold in California in 2012?

Almost all Mercury outboard products will be available for sale in California in 2012. Some engine-manufacturers must discontinue selling entire product lines in California, but the vast majority of Mercury's engines can be sold in California in 2012. The following table illustrates this in greater detail.

MERCURY OUTBOARD FAMILY

CARB STAR RATING

AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA IN 2012?

2.5-3.5 4-Stroke

3

Yes

4-5-6 4-Stroke

3

Yes

8-9.9 4-Stroke

3

Yes

15-20 4-Stroke

3

Yes

25-30 EFI 4-Stroke (incl. Jet 25)

3

Yes

40-50-60 EFI 4-Stroke (incl. Jet 40)

3

Yes

75-90-115 EFI 4-Stroke

3

Yes

150 FourStroke

3

Yes

150-175-200 4-Cyl. Verado

2

Yes

225-250-275-300-350 6-Cyl. Verado

2

Yes

75-90-115 1.5L OptiMax

3

Yes

135 2.5L OptiMax

3

Yes

150 2.5L OptiMax

NA

No

200 3.0L OptiMax

3

Yes

225 3.0L OptiMax

NA

No

150-175-200-225-250 Pro XS OptiMax

3

Yes

115 Pro XS, 125 OptiMax

NA

No

How does this affect a boat/engine dealer's existing inventory or a consumer with an older outboard product?

Dealers may continue selling existing inventory, and, for the most part, consumers may continue using older outboards in California.

Compliance with emission regulations in the U.S. and Canada is based on the date the engine was manufactured. That means the inventories of California dealers may be sold at any time as long as the product is certified for the area in which it is being sold. For example, 2005 CARB certified engines can be sold in California in 2008 because they were certified and built in 2005. There are no federal restrictions regarding the consumers' use of outboards in the U.S.; however, there are a few targeted bodies of water that (A) restrict use based on horsepower or (B) do not allow use of conventional two-stroke engines for water- or air-quality reasons.