California Air Resources Board (CARB) To Ban Turbochargers

Sacramento, California, April 1, 2018 – In a surprise announcement this morning, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), long known as the emissions watchdog in both the OEM and aftermarket arenas, released an Executive Order stating that effective April 1, 2019, all forms of turbocharging on gasoline engines will be considered noncompliant with the state’s strict emission laws. As an additional blow, the wording of the new CARB regulation applies not only to aftermarket turbocharger systems, but OEM turbocharging as well.

The announcement, which went out on the wire early Sunday morning stated, “The one-year lead time was chosen in lieu of any grandfather clause, in order to give current owners of turbocharged vehicles time to bring their turbocharged vehicles into compliance before being subject to the $50,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail.”

The official release doesn’t mention any other forms of forced-induction being targeted and we have to wonder, with the state’s affinity for electrically-powered vehicles, if OEMs will pursue technology similar to Audi’s electric supercharger, which would be legal by the wording of the new regulation. We are also left wondering if diesel platforms will be next in CARB’s sights, since diesel engines represent the lion’s share of OEM turbocharging.

We spoke to a source close to the situation on the condition of anonymity (aka Lirpa Sloof) to get an idea of what is going through the California lawmakers’ heads. “Well, what it really comes down to, is that turbochargers have evolved immensely, technologically speaking, in the past decade,” Sloof said. “OEM and even aftermarket turbo systems are now able to comply with CARB’s emissions regulations, while still producing awesome power and making cars fun to drive. The underlying issue is that automotive fun is unacceptable to CARB.”

Sloof added, “This wasn’t a decision taken lightly. California has been in the grip of a pretty serious drought over the past few years, and the tears of enthusiasts who were beaten by turbocharged vehicles were actually helping to alleviate the drought by a measurable amount. After some heated debate, it was decided that California’s water shortage wasn’t CARB’s concern.”

There will be a public commenting section open during the compliance period, to end 90 days before the regulation goes into effect on April 1, 2019 which can be accessed HERE. Let the California Legislators know how you feel before it’s too late, and the new regulation is in full effect.


Happy April Fools’ Day!

About the author

Greg Acosta

Greg has spent over a decade in automotive publishing as Senior Editor of Race Pages magazine. In his free time, he is a firearms instructor and volunteer in the police armory.
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