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California Looking To Restrict Out-Of-State Diesel Motorhomes

Diesel Motorhome on narrow road surrounded by trees.

Going To California? 

When Led Zepplin wrote Going to California in 1971 they apparently weren’t thinking about diesel motorhomes in 2023. If they had, they would be surprised to know that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced, as reported by the RV Industry Association, that they are,

“…developing a Heavy-Duty Inspection/Maintenance regulatory concept to make sure that non-gasoline powered vehicles greater than 14,000 lbs. operating in California (including vehicles registered out of state) have properly functioning emissions control systems. While this is only a regulatory concept right now, CARB said the intention is that it will eventually become a regulation that would establish a smog check program for heavy-duty diesels. The new requirements being considered by CARB could have huge implications for diesel motorhome owners.”

With CARB planning a workshop for late March, a full regulatory proposal is not likely to be sent to the Board until near the end of this year, with an anticipated effective date in 2023. The elephant in the room of course is, how many of our diesel pushers will pass a California smog check?

Conform Or Be Cast Out

As many rush to get this story in front of RVers, RV Pro recently reported, adding that the rulemaking that is under development, as mandated by California Senate Bill 210 will require owners of diesel motorhomes nationwide to,

“…obtain an annual certificate of conformity from CARB in order to operate their vehicles on California roads.”

This conformity would be expected regardless of where your diesel motorhome is registered. Senate Bill 210, which introduced the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Program was originally designed to help control emissions generated by the heavy trucking industry. The obvious question is, how much will that annual certificate cost? The RVIA also notes that, 

“While this is only a regulatory concept right now, the intention is for this to eventually become a regulation that would essentially establish a smog check program for heavy-duty diesels. The new requirements being considered by CARB could have huge implications for diesel motorhome owners.” 


Though not dead yet, gratefully, CARB laws are already affecting the diesel industry in California. The state made big news with an executive order banning the sale of new gas or diesel vehicles by 2035. On June 25, 2020 CARB unanimously voted to require truck manufacturers to begin the transition from diesel to zero-emission trucks in 2024, with a full zero-emission expectation date of 2045. 

For most of us, that date seemed pretty far off and the likelihood of it affecting our ability to steer a diesel pusher into The Golden State wasn’t concerning. This recent news however changes that. If you are planning to visit one of the thousands of RV parks in California, you’d better do it soon. 

Fight The Good Fight

In order to give RVers a voice and hopefully triumph over what could be a devastating blow to the RV park and resort industry in California, the RV Industry Association and their partners will continue to work with CARB staff to develop appropriate provisions that will protect the public without being overly burdensome on diesel motorhomes. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out and the ramifications it has on the RV industry as it relates to California.

Author Patrick Buchanan Avatar

Patrick Buchanan

All around RV enthusiast who has been RVing for 7 years and enjoys trips with his wife and little dogs in their 43-foot diesel pusher. 

11 thoughts on “California Looking To Restrict Out-Of-State Diesel Motorhomes

  1. Another ridiculous idea coming from California. How is this legal? I don’t live in CA, but my tax dollars sure do help pay for the roadways leading in and out of CA. What makes these wacko politicians think they have the right to dictate that everyone else outside of CA conform to these idotic demands? As a federal tax payer, I should have the right to travel unmolested through the state of CA and to enjoy the federally funded features that are within the state of CA (i.e., National Parks). CA has been trying to get funding anyway possible to help offset their social agenda. This crap needs to stop.

  2. California mandated unleaded gasoline and emission controls like catalytic converters back in the 1970’s and the rest of the country soon followed. Diesel trucks have had to comply with higher emission standards as well in the last decade and the sky has not fallen yet.

    1. It has if you are one of the thousands who have have major problems with the emission controls on their diesel engines. While the scope of this article is RV, understand that the majority of propulsion for industry vehicles, forklift to over-the-road delivery trucks is diesel. My son-in-law is the maintenance guy for a company that has forklifts and trucks. Trying to keep them running is a nightmare and it ends up costing the consumer a lot more for products due to this.

  3. Just another reason not to visit California. Was once a fun state to visit, that California is long gone.

  4. Why would any diesel RV owner risk coming into California when they could be sited and fined if their RV does not pass or be turned away and told to leave the state. This will kill the RV industry and RV parks in California and cut into Tourism, restaurants, gas stations, etc… GOOD PLAN Californians!. Lets all ride bicycles around the state until they outlaw those as well.

  5. So a State burdened in debt and seeking a Fed bailout is actively discouraging visitors who would contribute millions annually to the state’s income and tax base. That is crazy.

      1. Well….not completely true!

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