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Are RV Generators Now Banned In California?


RV generators at campsite

Are RV Generators Now Banned In California?

Clean energy bills and pollution initiatives are rolling out across many American states. These laws are being put in place to reduce emissions and create a more environmentally-friendly country, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the specifics and timing of these laws. A new bill was recently passed in California that will ban the sale of new portable gas-powered engines. In later years, this ban will extend to include RV generators.

If you already have a generator in California, you will still be able to use it for now. The current stage of the initiative only prevents the sale of small off-road gas-powered engines. This includes devices like leaf blowers and lawnmowers.

Currently, the plan is to make these off-road engines meet zero-emission standards by 2024. Later on, portable generators (such as RV generators) must also have zero emissions by 2028. This bill has been met with significant amounts of support and opposition. We’ll explore the background and opposing viewpoints of this issue below.

RV Generator Ban in California

This bill was passed on October 11, 2021. There were 47 votes in favor and 22 in opposition, so the bill passed with a majority vote. There are several stages of this law that will come into effect at different times.

First of all, by July 1, 2022 a state board will create reasonable regulations that must be adopted by anyone who wishes to create or sell off-road engines in the state of California. These regulations will then go into full effect in January of 2024 (or sooner if that is deemed feasible by the board).

After January of 2024, nobody will be allowed to sell or purchase new items that are equipped with gas-powered off-road engines. This mainly targets lawn and garden equipment such as leaf blowers, weed whackers, and lawnmowers.

The ban has been put in place due to the heavy emissions that these items put out. The bill mentions that running a leaf blower for 1 hour creates as much pollution as driving 1,100 miles in a car (source).

Once the initial zero-emission standards and policies have been rolled out, they will then extend to portable gasoline-powered generators. This includes generators for recreational vehicles, boats, and homes. These generators must meet zero-emission standards by 2028 (source).

To make this transition easier for the people who must buy new equipment, the state of California has set aside $30 million to help landscaping businesses afford new equipment that aligns with the zero-emissions standards. This is being done so that small businesses can afford to keep up with the legal changes without losing too much money.

What about Californians who already own RV generators?

Californians who already own gas-powered generators, RV generators, and lawn equipment are still legally allowed to own and operate these items even after the bill takes effect (source). No new models will be created or sold after 2024 though. The primary focus of this law is to support the production and sale of new equipment that meets zero-emission standards.

To read the full text of the bill, visit leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Points in Favor

This bill was passed with a majority vote, and there are some compelling reasons that explain why it is being put into effect.

First of all, the primary focus of this bill is to reduce pollution. On average, small off-road engines emit 125 tons of reactive organic gases every day (source). By reducing the number of gas-powered engines, they aim to cut down this number and create cleaner air. Smog and pollution are major issues that California faces and this bill is designed to reduce pollution.

The bill also argues that the technology for zero-emission equipment already exists and this bill is designed to encourage the growth and implementation of this technology. With the financial support they are offering, it will be easier for businesses of all sizes to make the transition.

In addition, this bill gained support because many of the items that are being regulated or banned are not seen as essential. It’s much easier to regulate items like leaf blowers instead of cars. This is a small segment of products, but by implementing these changes, there could be a significant and positive impact on the pollution levels of California.

This bill is not a perfect solution to the pollution problems California faces, but it may be a step in the right direction.

Points in Opposition

This new law has also met quite a bit of opposition. With 22 dissenting votes, it was clear that the decision to roll out this initiative was not unanimous. There are several consequences associated with the new regulations and some businesses and customers are not prepared to make the switch.

One of the biggest cons of this new law is the fact that this could compromise the safety and comfort of many California residents. Blackouts are not uncommon in this state and many people rely on their generators as a source of backup power. They provide electricity for heating, internet access, lights, refrigerator, medical equipment, and much more!

Another issue with the ban is the fact that sometimes the alternatives just aren’t practical. Solar power and batteries are major sources of alternative energy, but solar power isn’t always available. If there are clouds, smoke, or other particles in the air then even clean sources of energy can run out. Gasoline is a reliable source of fuel that can be used to keep a home or vehicle operational in times of uncertainty.

Cost is another potential issue. Although California has set aside $30 million to help small businesses make the transition, this money will only stretch so far. Many individuals won’t receive help when they need to upgrade their lawn equipment and some businesses will probably be skipped over when the aid is being distributed.

Many RV owners are also upset about these regulations because RV generators are a major source of power for them. The president of the California RVDA said, “When RV parks lose power, as they often do, the only way to run oxygen tanks, CPAP machines, wheelchair lifts, air conditioners is a generator. Currently there is no other way.” (source).

RV generators are some of the most important pieces of equipment for campers. They need them to travel safely and enjoy a certain level of comfort they have come to expect. This ban might require RVers to travel out of state to purchase new ones.

This has become a safety concern for many residents. Some people are not confident that the technology is advancing fast enough to ensure their safety when other sources of power fail. All of these fears are valid and should be taken into consideration by the state of California.

How to make your voice heard

If you are a California resident and would like to weigh in on this decision, there are ways to do so. You can contact your state representatives and share your point of view. You can also participate in online petitions like Stay Powered California.

If you want to learn more about this organization and read about their goals and sign the petition, visit staypoweredcalifornia.org.

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.

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Author Emily Lawrence Avatar

Emily Lawrence

Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

47 thoughts on “Are RV Generators Now Banned In California?

  1. I and my wife of 50 years moved to California in 1971 and I had lived in SoCal in 1959/60 as a Marine. What golden days they were in the truly Golden State! With all the air pollution in the Los Angeles Valley, going back to before the first White man set foot there, certainly before the first internal combustion engine was used there, the problem of air pollution has a long history in Parts Of California. It is not entirely man-made at all, but clearly cleaning up emissions from man’s devices will go and has gone some distance toward cleaning the environment of this once great state.

    I suspect the latest foray into pollution control is not entirely about environmental improvement but about control of the governed by the ruling class. Lockdowns have proven counterproductive to thwart the China virus and reduced (if any) sentences given to criminals are certainly contrary to the will and best interests of the California public. The state has gone overwhelmingly Democrat (communist) and one only has to look at San Francisco and Los Angeles’ quality (sic) of life to see where the ruling class have taken its citizens (and overwhelming numbers of non-citizens).

    In 2018, at ages 75 and 81, respectively, my wife and I sold our two homes in California and fled to Texas. We no longer enjoy the climate of Southern California, or the beauty of Northern California, but in Texas we have reason in our political system. Our politicians listen to us and make decisions which, except in the few large, Democrat-controlled cities, are based on sense not ideology. W
    e have state politicians who manage our money and we have no state income tax. I got Valero gas today for 2.66/gallon. Our property taxes are much less than for similar quality homes in Caloifornia and our schools teach history as it happened, not as the ruling class would like us to believe it should have happened. All non-felon Texans may carry a concealed firearm if they wish to. Except in big cities we may deal with the China virus as we believe is best for ourselves and our families.

    Moving at our ages was quite difficult but in retrospect it was worth every bit of the effort and every penny of the expense. We invite Californians to find refuge in Texas, but do not bring California’s political madness with you.

  2. The problem is that the State of California has no scientic evidence of how much pollution is produced by the total of gas-powered generators and other items, such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc. They have produced no believable evidence and are operating only on guesswork.

    Besides, other countries such as CHINA have no such restrictions, yet Californians are supposed to believe that world-wide pollution can ber reduced if only Californians would participate and bear the brunt of what is essentially another mandate. How absurd! Then again, the state government is run by the Eco-Nazi Communists who expect us all to believe their constant ludicrous lies that do nothing and that have done nothing but worsen our way of life.

  3. If utility providers are already unable to meet peak power needs without rolling blackouts and are already raising costs during peak consumption hours, what’s going to happen when everyone plugs in their electric vehicle at 6:30 pm?

  4. Pollution solution. Republican deregulation and similar short sighted offerings maintain the stagnate status-quo, never as well intended as claimed, rather selfish “me first” in every way. California sets the standard as other states end up benefitting from the R&D that comes from it. Keep leaving I say, good riddance. The air gets cleaner without your babble. Such hypocrites. Right to life, then ripe to die by deregulation of emissions, gun-lust, corporate greed or undiagnosed pre-existing medical conditions such as stupidity and ignorance. Or the spite-effects of the environment you’d have us all stuck living in. I hear Texas, Idaho and either of the Virginias or Carolinas would welcome you. If only there was a technology that allowed electrical generation from harnessing putrid close-minded ideas. Make sure to leave your descendants an explanation of why the condition of the world is what it is, after you selfishly make sure that it won’t be a better place for them if you have your “freedom” to spoil it all. But if anything above all else, go learn what fascism really means. Get a clue, they’re everywhere.

  5. I live in California and I can’t wait till I have enough money to move out of California. The people that live in California never would have voted for another gas tax to fix the roads that the ten other tax hikes were supposed to fix. California is in shambles, the roads being the worst roads I’ve ever driven on, there are no rest stops to speak of, and the Governor is Pelosi’s nephew. Most of the people here in California are too stoned to do anything about a fixed recall election let alone figure out how to get to the poles to vote. Their votes don’t count anyway! None of our votes count. It’s been this way since Finestien took office in San Francisco! She started the destruction and it’s been on a steady coarse ever since. Anyone been to San Francisco lately?

  6. The mad headlong rush to ever-increasing fully electric or partially electric powered (hybrid) vehicles in the name of helping the environment, is a fool’s errand. For one thing, electric vehicles require far more copper than regular (gas or diesel) driven cars, trucks and buses (or recreational vehicles if they begin to be commonly electrified). Electric motors and supporting wiring requires a lot of copper. If you want to get some idea of the huge environmental impact of copper mining, since the readers of this website are already RV’ers, while you’re snow-birding in my home state of Arizona, many of you, take a tour of some of Arizona’s open pit mines, both played out ones (such as in Bisbee or Ajo) or active ones, such as Morenci or the mines south of Tucson. Look how vast square miles and mountain ranges are gobbled up and polluted in the recovery of copper ore. Not only that, but the industry wants to further scar mountain ranges beloved by a majority of residents, such as the Santa Rita Mountains, Oak Flat in the Mountains east of Superior, for example. Some areas targeted for future mining are also areas held sacred by Native Americans. Lithium, used in electric car batteries (but also computers and devices) is another case in point. Lithium mining is very impactful on the environment as well. (The Institute for Energy Research has a good article about Lithium mining.) Windmills of a commercial size kill thousands of birds every year. Some industrial solar farms, that concentrate the sun’s rays on one central spot, kill many birds as well. Meanwhile, our gas powered cars and larger vehicles have become vastly cleaner and efficient in recent years. A solar set-up on an RV is not as heavy of a cost to the environment as an electric Tesla or Prius, nor is its gas (or other fossil fuel generator). So next time a virtue-signaling hybrid or electric car owner thinks less of you for driving your fossil fueled car, pickup, or RV they are driving the less “green” machine. In my humble opinion. Mama, don’t let you kids grow up to be California politicians.

    1. Interestingly, you compare the mining impact of electric vehicles against the tailpipe emissions of gasoline ones. When you add in the environmental impact of extracting petroleum to the tailpipe emissions, it becomes a wash. And copper, for instance, is highly recyclable, and many of us probably have more old pennies in coffee cans around than is needed for the car in the garage.

  7. This article repetitively states gas, gas, gas generators. Does this new bill also eliminate LP generators? I remember a huge push for LP powered cars, trucks, and public transportation BUSES as well as nearly all waste pickup vehicles are now LP. ARE THESE NEXT ON CALIFORNIA’S CHOPPING BLOCK.. .?

  8. Wait until the Democrats waned off in California, then the Republicans will turned the damned regulation around. Enough of such tree hugging mentality that doesn’t solve problems caused by themselves.

  9. Here’s the problem. The Democrats has supermajorities in the Senate and Assembly, and the Governor is a Democrat who just avoided a recall in a special election. The Democrats don’t care if the laws they pass reduce your quality of life. They just don’t care. In fact, they want to reduce your quality of life. We have constant water and electricity shortages. The Democrats let criminals out of jail early, have zero bail,, and now we have rampant crime. There are homeless encampments all over the cities.
    The more chaos the better according to the Democrats.

    The people in California are the most clueless people I have ever met. They keep voting their quality of life away.

    1. …And yet Ca. with a GDP equal to the two next states combined is rated the sixth least polluted state in America! GO DEMOCRATS!!

  10. It appears that there will be a whole new breed of generator smugglers and companies building “silencers” for these dangerous assault generators.
    I am so glad I don’t own property in that hell hole they call Kalifornia.

    What a shame that nutbags have taken that place over.

  11. I’m not seeing the “use” of non-zero emissions generators will be banned, only the sale of them. Did I miss something?

  12. First of all, I really like that this article listed the pros and cons. True journalism!
    Second, were these legislators informed of the total cost of “zero-emission” motors?
    How the batteries are manufactured and the effects/environmental damage of mining rare-earth elements?
    The cost and environmental effect of the disposal of batteries once they die?
    How to build and support their infrastructure of an all-electric society?
    What to do when storms and outages sweep their “pretty big” state?
    Once again, California seems to be short-sighted and out of touch with reality.

  13. Friends, no need to freak out. You’ll still be able to get diesel generators. They are just phasing out regular gasoline & 2-stoke engines. You’ll still have your ability to burn carbon if you want/need.

  14. What I find interesting is the typical BS law makers. The legislation states a goal but not how to achieve it at some date in the unknown future . The politicians can claim today “See I did something vote for me” but all they did was create more bureaucrats and they can blame them when the consequences are bad.

  15. Will yacht clubs, marinas, cruise ship’s, sail boats that use small engine’s and all those ship’s that haul cargo from overseas be banned 🤔?

  16. What about RV propane generators? Will they be banned too, or are their emissions significantly lower enough to avoid the ban?

  17. We left that pathetic state in late 17, took two years. Our family is slowly joining us.
    People would ask me if I thought newsome would be worse than jerry brown. Much worse was my answer. The one thing cali politicians are good at is destruction.
    GOOOOOO State of Jefferson…

  18. Great to hear that all of you generator loving rvers will be avoiding California in the future! Looking forward to quieter, cleaner campgrounds. Since when did enjoying nature mean burning fuel for generators, power boats, snowmobiling etc? We don’t even burn wood in campfires anymore after living through too many fires. If we can’t figure out how to camp more cleanly by 2028, we are truly screwed. Signed, a native Californian and proud of her state!

    1. I will be buying a shipping container of generators and selling them at California campgrounds. God bless America!

  19. Oh calm down, for Pete’s sake. It doesn’t say anything about propane generators, so apparently that’s still an option. People always bitch about change, but health and safety improvements rarely evolve voluntarily (seatbelts, anyone?). I often flew into LA in the ‘80s and it was always covered in a blanket of brown smog. If laws requiring reduced vehicle emissions and cleaner fuels hadn’t passed, you’d still be refusing to visit…because of the horrible air quality. Today LA has less than half the air pollution with twice the cars. There are dramatically fewer kids with breathing problems. Innovation is often spurred by legislative requirements, and costs can be offset by other savings (such as improvements in health, productivity and climate change). So take a breath and give the marketplace a chance to rise to the challenge.

    1. Correct, have never run my generator on Gasoline, propane only. In an all Diesel scenario I didn’t want to haul gasoline around. Propane much safer.

  20. This article said there was a vote? We never voted for this! As a tax paying resident i only use a generator all the time and will never stop because California thinks they can order people and say its a law, Good luck with all that, CALIFORNIA can’t even get people to stop a stop sign! Or do speed limits? So good luck Gov Nonsense, Remember Sir you work for the people! We don’t work for you You work for us!!!

  21. Air pollution kills and harms thousands of Californians a year, not to mention the aesthetics of foul air an its impact on our already stressed forests and its contribution to climate change. For the cost of a generator, one can increase battery storage dramatically. All these short-sighted opponents should leave a letter for the grand and great grand-children explaining why they they opposed measures to improve the atmosphere. I’m sure they will be hughly appreciative of your attitudes.

  22. No problem. California is just ensuring a strong and healthy black market in generators from other states. States that aren’t as fascist as the granola eaters in San Francisco, and LA that run rough shod over the rest of the state.
    I escaped the insanity called Kommiefornia back in 2004. Unfortunately, I didn’t get far enough from the border and so it has permeated Oregon and, along with the fascists (calling themselves anti fascists) in Portland, the disease of communism is destroying Oregon. In fact, the entire west coast has succumbed and is lost. It is time for the makers to abandon the coastal states and let the takers finish the job of destroying them. Only then is there a chance to redeem them.
    This is why we are building a custom 40′ diesel pusher coach and using our current RV to search out places to which we can again escape the insanity. Just this month we finished exploring Wyoming as well as norther Utah and Nevada.

  23. As a east coast resident, I’ve always regarded California as a beautiful state with many stunning campgrounds and attractions. In the past, California was one of my wife’s and my favorite travel destinations. Unfortunately the state has run up the cost of fuel so much that it has largely made our RV travel there unaffordable. Banning standby power generators will add to the other reasons that our visits to the state will become less frequent or will end altogether. Not surprisingly, according to the recent US Census, the state is losing population. If the state loses enough of its population and further discourages visitors, those reductions will inherently add to the reduction the state’s apparent pollution problem. Whether the state enjoys a net benefit from the consequences of those legislative actions remains to be determined.

    1. Yes, CA is fast becoming the most beautiful state that nobody except the limousine elites, and poor migrants can afford to live in.

    2. A big reason for our population loss is businesses are leaving the state because they can no longer provide their product or service at a reasonable cost. With them go many skilled professionals only to be replaced with unskilled labor.
      What is going to happen to our RV sales and service centers when you have to go out of state to purchase an RV with a generator? How many come without a generator? If you buy a gas powered RV will you have to have a seperate fuel tank for a diesel generator? Many questions still need to be answered.

  24. Doesn’t matter to me. I live in Arizona and use to spend a lot of RV time in California. We haven’t set foot in California in 5 years and have no intention of ever going there again. We now vacation in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, the Dakotas and eastern Oregon and Washington.

    1. We had planned to head into California 2 years ago but then covid pretty much shut them down. Well now I guess they took care of me going there at all anymore. They don’t need my business but then I don’t need them either!

  25. These changes are an example of how disconnected California laws are. They have no clue how this will affect people and their lives! Zero emissions is not an answer to their problem. Batteries don’t have the ability to hold enough power for a long enough period without being bulky and expensive beyond belief! The amount of harm all of these batteries will do once they are expended will far outreach the harm of fuel emissions. What a bunch of morons

    1. 100% agree. The batteries will end up being a huge problem, a problem that seems to be missed in discussions of Green energy folks.

  26. So who is going to enforce this STUPIDITY,….I thought so, as I plan to go out of state to purchase a new replacement generator should I need one. Screw the AIR POLLUTION FREAKS that should have died from pollution if it was that bad when the whole Sacramento Valley was full of smoke from the fires that Smokey Bear and CalFire could not put out for months. The Air Resources Board ( ARB ) should be terminated as they are now getting too big for their britches with all of their STUPID false requirements !!

    1. How is burning a quart of gas In a leaf blower the same amount of emissions as driveling 1100 miles in a car. California is just making up numbers to get what they want

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