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California Looking To Restrict Out-Of-State Diesel Motorhomes

Published on March 9th, 2021 by Patrick Buchanan
This post was updated on May 4th, 2021

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?

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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.

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

  1. I was going to buy an diesel allegro breeze by tiffin. Now I’m going to buy a gas hog tiffin 32SA to save the enviornment

  2. From 2009 until 2016 We went to California every year and stayed from may to September to participate in amateur gold mining. During this time we spent an average of $ 4000 a month on RV parks, food, fuel and entertainment. When the state basically regulated the amateur gold miners out of business we started going to Idaho, Wyoming and Montana spending our money there. I have no desire to ever go back there so they can pass all of the anti tourist regulations they want. There economy is in the toilet now and it will only get worse. I feel sorry for the people who can not leave.

    • Most of your comments are correct but our economy is not in the toilet . Is California is the 4th largest economy in the world

  3. Nice. They have made lots of emissions changes already really to no great benefit.
    We just paid 6 dollars a gallon for diesel in ca I will never do that again.
    And why any one thinks they can make law changes and that will in turn affect the climate is beyond my
    Only God is going g to change our climate
    Dee ta dee

    • Steve Brabham, To no GREAT Benefit? Obviously you don’t live in Los Angeles or have not for very long otherwise you would know that there is a great difference from the smog laden city of yesterday to a clean air breathing experience of today and the future…Also, “God” had absolutely nothing to do with the clean air, California clean air laws did. Dee ta dee

  4. Everyone wants to have no, or less pollution. But they all want it to come without affecting their lives. That is not possible. Just one more example of human stupidity.
    If all humans would stop breathing for 10 minutes both the pollution and stupidity problems will be solved.

    • With a blanket statement like that Bob against humanity one could conclude that your statement is of a close minded individual unwilling to listen to others opinions and/or views.

  5. I live in California currently, and although I do believe there are WAY TOO MANY Semi’s on the road these days, and I don’t mind much about using electric powered lawn equipment, I’m thinking; “How is this going to affect California’s Farming Industry”? The farming industries rely on diesel fuel for most all of their equipment, and if not diesel, then it is gas. So… Where does that leave us on a Saturday night with our new high powered connections?! (J/k on that last sentence) Seriously though…We gotta eat!

  6. RVing was on my bucket list until I saw all the RVers jammed together, getting into fights, at a local state park and heard about RV parks double booking; disrespectful RVers dumping waste in parking lots and destroying Federal lands that are consequently banning boondocking. I figured CA would be one of the worst states to RV because of all that. If the new laws reduce the crowding and keep anti-environment RVers out of CA, it could become a great place to go camping.

    • As a RVer I agree. I’m hoping the people complaining about being forced to maintain their vehicles so they can pass smog test do stay home. That way maybe I can find a place without having to make reservations a year in advance. Please pretty Please don’t go to CA!

    • Sadly, you provide no evidence as to RV parks double-booking (an uninformed generalization), “disrespectful RVers dumping waste in parking lots,” (how many times and where have you witnessed this?) and “destroying our Federal lands” (what EVIDENCE do you have?).

      You apparently have decided that ALL RV owners disrespect the land, foul the environment and as such must be considered as nothing but oafish tobacco-chewing Rednecks who fail to remove their hats when the National Anthem is played…….all based on one isolated problem you witnessed at a state park. In other words, if a small problem occurs with just a few people, all people must be considered guilty? So you have “heard” about RVrs “dumping waste in parking lots?” You “heard” it, so it must be true? Ludricous.

      I am not saying that such incidents don’t occur, but I am RV owner and have never witnessed any such occurrences during 25 years of RV ownership. My experience is that RV owners are older and more responsible, and that they take great care about protecting the environment—especially in state and national parks.

      • Beautifully said! We have been boondocking on public lands in Arizona for the past month and I am super impressed by the respectfulness of everyone. Of course you will always “those people”, but it’s definitely unfair to generalize.

    • If you actually had an RV, you would know t h at yhe things you mentioned are very very few and far in between. I have a diesel truck with all current (2022) emissions equipment in tact. I’m not anti environment. Until you get off your high jersey about the environment you should stop labeling people. By the way, is your home totally solar, is your heat and ac equipment totally electric, is your hot water heater electric on demand, do you drive only electric vehicles? If not, you most certainly are ANTI EVIRONMENTAL.

  7. Maybe Tesla will build an RV. They’re already building currently ramping up semi’s. Just think, no generators, since the battery pack will hold enough electricity to power the refrigeration and lights.

    RV owners must be in the top five of whiners.

  8. Time to ban all of the diesel powered container ships from entering California waters. No more Ports needed in California, everything imported arrives via the East Coast.

  9. Well that does it for me, was planning trip to california post-covid; now forget it; any state that bans RV’s are stupid in my book, their wildfires is cause of their polluted air, not diesel engines. I’m banning california and will bypass that former state of USA. NO tourists dollars for them.

    • Don’t be silly. RVs aren’t being banned, and while, as you point out wildfires have been a major source of air pollution, internal combustion engines have as well. I hear your anger about this, and I too will be effected, but it isn’t as bad as you say–RVs are not being banned, for example–and in the long run saving our own asses from climate change is going to inconvenience and cost all of us. The question is do we pay with our wallets and inconveniences now or with our lives later? Why would we want to visit California anyway when it’s been burned to the ground due to our own short-sighted stupidity? The fires are worsened by climate change which is worsened by polluting vehicles. We have to think long term, beyond the ends of our noses.

      • I wish folks would calm down a bit on the whole climate change boondoggle. America has reduced pollution more than any other industrialized country on earth – but to hear leftists you’d swear the world will end in less that 10 years which is a huge crock of schiff. Those predictions have been tossed around like tactical nukes for the last 30 – 40 years and to date just exactly ZERO have come anywhere near reality.

        It makes sense to preserve our environment & natural resources but the switch to “green power” (as it stands today) is worse than petroleum based energy. Mining and production of EV batteries is massively polluting. Ditto for solar anything. Recycling batteries is another massive pollution source that the left loves to pretend doesn’t exist. We should continue to pursue BOTH paths.

        Unfortunately the bonehead in the Whitehouse (Slo Joe) is intent on bankrupting America (and numerous other countries) so he can appease his leftist masters by eradicating the petroleum industry. Why not allow the change to happen organically – at it’s own pace. If/when it becomes viable it will simple displace other energy sources. If that never happens then so be it.

        Do something to reign in China’s pollution. They are putting out exponentially more pollution than the next dozen countries (with the possible exception of India). If America hit “net zero” pollution it wouldn’t counteract the mass of pollution China is CURRENTLY emitting (this is before they build and activate 30 – 40 more coal-fired power plants they have publicly announced to burn the 100 MILLION TONS of coal they are buying from Russia).

        If California wants to commit economic suicide – then by all means let them. I won’t lose one second’s sleep. They’re already well beyond bankrupt. It would be amazing what California could do if the leftist bridle could be removed. The state could actually flourish.

        Finally, until you can get volcanic activity under control – stop with the sensationalism. Using it so extensively is counter-productive in the extreme.

        • I’m tired of the people who insert their political beliefs into every argument. “If only the other guy had won, everything would be better.” We are snowbirds that are enjoying our 2nd year of rv life. Despite political differences, most people are friendly and keep their politics out of the campground. Keep the hate out of our campgrounds and back on the barstools where it belongs.

      • I grew up and worked in logging community in northern cal. It is total forest mismanagement that has cause most of the fires. We warned the state back in the late 70’s and early 80’s that banning logging. Without thinning, clearing brush and replanting you would see massive forest fires in 20 to 30 years like you have never seen before. Guess what happened….?

    • They aren’t banning RVs, they are banning diesel RVs that can’t pass the smog check. They are not changing things with gasoline RVs.

  10. 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.

    • You were probably a smoker who demanded your right to pollute the air in every build in the nation, forcing everyone to breathe your second hand smoke. We all know how that turned out.
      People bitch when the feds pass a law they don’t like, saying it should be up to the states under State’s Rights. Then they bitch when the states pass laws they don’t like and say it should be up to the feds.

  11. 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.

    • 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.

    • True, the sky has not fallen. Indeed it has gotten clearer as a result of California’s improving air quality regulations. I was upset to find that my new (2020) MBS Sprinter had to undergo a smog test before I could reregister it but this was a small price to pay so that I and my future grandkids could enjoy breathing cleaner air and scenic views when traveling in our RV.

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    • It is a beautiful state; I was born and raised there over 84 years ago. BUT….my wife and I sold our home and moved out-of-state due to the Far Leftists in the state government and the dark cloud over who will pay for the bloated, illegal-infused welfare system that has been welcomed by that same state government. The sentiment there is that anyone who works and saves for retirement doesn’t deserve to keep the fruits of his labor, and, further, that anyone who complains is considered a “white supremacist,” a “domestic terrorist,” or just a common, garden-variety “racist.”

      We moved out of our home state three years ago and consider ourselves lucky. California was once considered worth moving to, but no longer. There are far more tax-friendly states (Tennessee, Florida and Texas are but a few).

      • Funny, you just named the 3 stupidest states of the Union. If you can’t afford your taxes, you aren’t making enough money!

        I lived in Europe 1/2 of my life, paying a minimum of 35% of my income in tax. I still enjoyed better living conditions than most Americans. It is not how much tax you pay, it is how much you get for your money.

        Reading through these post, I realize why I only talk to one out of 5 people I meet while RVing.

        We own a diesel pusher that will be effected by Cali’s new rules. If it can not pass the Smog Test, we will park it in Arizona and drive the Toad to my son’s home in Orange County.

        BTW, when I was not burning 60,000 pounds an hour of Fossil Fuel driving a F4 Phantom, I was racing Open Wheel and Endurance cars burning lots of liquified Carbon. Now, even though retired, I work with Formula E drivers.

        The world we live in is a product of Evolution, those who refuse to Evolve die. The old man who taught me to weld was a Blacksmith, he also taught me how to make Horseshoes. When the Horseshoe business slowed down, he started selling automobile tires and gasoline. If he were alive today, he would be putting in Charging Stations. He lived to be well over 90.

        BTW we have a Hybrid F-150 on order and a deposit down for a Lighting when they are available.

        • Your credibility suffered with your remark about Phantoms. The aircraft does not have that much fuel on board.
          The J79’s can consume 4,000 lbs per minute, but that is only very short bursts.

      • We moved to California from Texas three years ago. We were paying way more in property taxes in TX. They get you one way or another. Our energy bills here in California are lower because we don’t need an A/C where we live. Gasoline is more expensive in CA but we drive a lot less here. It’s a wash, and we get to enjoy better weather (and better RVing!). Like they say: “ask your CPA”. Everyone’s tax situation is different.
        As far as all the political stuff: we don’t judge our friends and neighbors based on party affiliation, we do it based on civility.
        You make several hyperbolic generalizations that make it clear you are into AM radio and conservative tv shows on cable. Take a break from that stuff for a month. I promise you will be a happier camper.


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