California Air Resources Board Issues Clean Truck Check Implementation Guidance

On August 23, 2023, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) published additional guidance for the implementation of Clean Truck Check requirements under its Heavy Duty Inspection/Maintenance regulation. The requirements build on implementation guidance issued in June and set deadlines to achieve compliance with certain requirements beginning by December 31, 2023. Fleet owners and operators, and those contracting or brokering loads with heavy-duty trucks, should take note of CARB’s implementation timeline and prepare to comply with reporting and fee payment requirements beginning in the fourth quarter of 2023.

CARB’s Heavy-Duty Inspection/Maintenance regulation, referred to as Clean Truck Check, was approved in December 2021 as part of an initiative to ensure that heavy-duty vehicle emissions systems remain properly functioning while in use on California roadways. In January 2023, CARB rolled out the first phase of the program consisting of roadside emissions testing to identify potential high emitters. Identified vehicles may be issued a notice to submit to additional testing and must comply within 30 days.

The next phase of Clean Truck Check includes vehicle reporting and payment requirements. Fleet owners must establish an account and input vehicle information into CARB’s online system from October 1 through December 31, 2023, based on CARB’s current anticipated timeline. Beginning January 1, 2024, fleets must be compliant with reporting and compliance fee payment requirements to legally operate in California. CARB’s new guidance signals that following completion of the reporting and compliance fee payments, vehicle owners would have access to a vehicle’s compliance certificate through the database system, which would serve as proof the vehicle has met the requirements. This would mean that certain companies (as defined in the regulation) contracting or brokering with regulated fleets must ensure that those fleets comply with Clean Truck Check standards, including by maintaining a valid CARB certificate in the contractor or broker’s records. Companies are subject to enforcement if they do not meet the requirements.

CARB estimates that following the reporting and payment deadlines, heavy-duty vehicle emissions testing will begin in July 2024. Vehicles generally must submit to biannual emissions testing in specified months throughout the year based on their registration or vehicle identification number. Only one test will be required in 2024, with two tests required beginning in 2025.

CARB’s implementation of Clean Truck Check may change as it moves closer to finalizing the methodology for complying with the regulation, and Sidley will continue to monitor CARB’s implementation efforts.

This post is as of the posting date stated above. Sidley Austin LLP assumes no duty to update this post or post about any subsequent developments having a bearing on this post.