The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recently proposed its plan to phase out sales of all new gas-powered forklifts in the state by the end of 2026. This move is part of their larger effort to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases in California. Let us answer some of the questions we are frequently asked about the upcoming regulations. 

When does the proposed ban take effect? 

CARB plans to ban sales of all new forklifts that are not zero-emission by 2026.  

What does the mandate mean exactly? 

Starting in 2026, businesses may not purchase or lease any new internal combustion (IC) engine forklifts. Companies will also be required to phase out and retire any IC forklifts that are 13 years or older or have an engine that is 13 years or older. 

Are all forklifts affected by the planned regulation?  

No. The regulation is for IC forklifts with a lift capacity of 12,000 pounds or less.  

What forklifts are not affected by the proposed ban? 

CARB’s Zero-Emission Mandate does not affect rough-terrain forklifts, pallet jacks, military tactical vehicles, forklifts with telescoping booms, and forklifts owned or operated by facilities that are subject to the Regulation for Mobile Cargo Handling Equipment at Ports and Intermodal Rail Yards. 

Are there any exemptions or allowances for businesses to continue to use IC forklifts? 

Yes. If businesses report their intention in advance, there is an allowance that allows for IC forklift rentals for unexpected occurrences or seasonal workload increases for up to 30 days each calendar year. There is also a low-use exemption to allow fleets to keep some IC forklift trucks if they are used for fewer than 200 hours per calendar year.  

Is there a limit to how many low-use forklifts a business can have in service? 

The number of low-use IC forklifts allowed is 10% of the total fleet. 

Are there any exemptions for small businesses?  

Yes! Businesses with fewer than 25 employees and less than $5 million in annual gross receipts can keep one low-use IC forklift indefinitely. 

Are there any incentives for businesses to switch to electric? 

Yes! CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard offers cash incentives to zero-emission electric equipment owners. Click here to learn more. 

What kind of paperwork is involved to stay compliant with CARB’s mandate? 

Businesses must file an initial report with CARB that includes basic company and forklift information and a final report when the fleet has fully transitioned to zero-emission. 

Can I get more answers? 

You bet. If you have more questions, our material handling experts know everything about CARB’s Zero Emission Forklift Mandate. Click here to set up a free consultation.  

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