Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles

This page last reviewed March 4, 2014


image of motor cycle The Board approved the off-highway recreational vehicles regulations in 1994. This rulemaking established emission standards and test procedures for off-highway vehicles (OHVs) including: off-road motorcycles (dirt bikes) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs); engines used in specialty vehicles and go-karts; and golf carts. Subsequent Board activity modified this original rulemaking. Engines producing less than 25 horsepower that are used in specialty vehicles or go-karts are now incorporated into the small off-road engine regulations. Similarly, engines producing 25 horsepower and greater that are used in specialty vehicles or go-karts are now incorporated into the large spark-ignition engine regulations. Subsequently, in 1998, the Board approved amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. These amendments were directed specifically toward dirt bikes and ATVs. Most notable, OHV registration is based on compliance to California's exhaust emission standards. Emission-compliant dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration and can be operated year round. Noncompliant dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Red Sticker registration and are subject to usage restrictions. The Certification Database provides a list of the Executive Orders for Off-Road Recreational Vehicles (motorcycles, ATVs and electric golfcarts).

At the July 2006 hearing, the Board approved evaporative emission standards for OHVs that begin in 2008. These standards control permeation from the fuel tank and hoses. Additionally, the Board approved changes to the riding seasons for OHVs with Red Sticker registration. Also, the Board approved changes to include three additional vehicle types, which will now be subject to California's off-highway recreational vehicle regulations:

  • Off-road utility vehicles
  • Off-road sport vehicles
  • Sand Cars (i.e., dune buggies, sand rails, etc.)

What's New

Posted February 21, 2013:

Posted February 14, 2014:

  • The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is holding a public workshop to discuss its assessment of off-highway motorcycles emissions and usage. The owner survey and emissions test plan elements of the assessment, along with an update on the timeline for completing the evaluation will be discussed at the workshop. The workshop will be held in two locations; each workshop will cover the same topics.  The first workshop will be held on on February 27, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at ARB’s El Monte office.  The second workshop will be held on March 6, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. at ARB's Sacramento office.  Further details regarding the workshop can be found here: Workshop Notice.

Posted December 9, 2013:

Posted December 6, 2013:

  • The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will be holding a series of public workshops about upcoming studies to better understand the usage and emissions associated with red sticker off-highway recreational vehicles. The presentation for the public workshops is now available for viewing and download here: OHRV Presentation.

Posted November 22, 2013:

  • The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will be holding a series of public workshops about upcoming ARB studies to better understand the usage and emissions associated with red sticker off-highway recreational vehicles. The workshops will be held in three locations and each workshop will cover the same topics. Details about the dates and locations of the workshops can be found here: Workshop Notice.

Posted July 24, 2013:

  • The Board Hearing for the OHRV evaporative rulemaking will be held on July 25, 2013. All regulatory documents for the OHRV rulemaking can be accessed from the Rulemaking Documents link in the left bar of this page.

Posted April 18, 2013:

  • Revised draft documents related to the draft proposal for regulating evaporative emissions from Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRV's) are now available.  These documents include revised draft regulations here:  Draft Regulation; revised draft test procedures here: Draft Test Procedures; a cost control form here: Control Cost Form.

Posted March 11, 2013:

Posted January 22, 2013:

  • Revised draft documents related to the draft proposal presented at the December 18, 2012 public workshop in El Monte, for regulating evaporative emissions from Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRV's), are available.  These documents include revised draft regulations here:  Draft Regulation; revised draft test procedures here: Draft Test Procedures; a cost control form here: Control Cost Form; and a survey sheet here: Survey Sheet.

Posted December 18, 2012:

  • A public workshop to discuss a draft proposal to regulate evaporative emissions from Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRVs) will be held on December 18, 2012 in El Monte.  The workshop notice and agenda can be found here: Workshop Presentation

Posted December 4, 2012:

  • A public workshop to discuss a draft proposal to regulate evaporative emissions from Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRVs) will be held on December 18, 2012 in El Monte.  The workshop notice and agenda can be found here: Workshop Notice and Agenda; and the draft regulations here: Draft Regulation and the draft test procedures here: Draft Test Procedures. (see January 22, 2013 posting for revised draft regulation and draft test procedures) 

Posted November 30, 2012:

  • The final Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle amendments, which were adopted by the Air Resources Board on December 16, 2011, were filed with the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) on October 26, 2012. OAL has until December 12, 2012, to render a decision. On March 22, 2012, a Notice of Public Availability of Modified Text was posted and made available for a fifteen-day public comment period. On November 15, 2011, a Notice of Change in the Public Hearing Date was posted, which rescheduled the date of the hearing from December 15, 2011, to December 16, 2011. On November 4, 2011, an Errata was posted to provide minor corrections to the staff report that had been posted October 26, 2011. The applicable regulatory documents for the above indicated actions can be found at the following link: Board Hearing Regulatory Materials

Posted October 28, 2011:

  • On December 15, 2011, the Air Resources Board will consider proposed amendments to the California regulations and test procedures for SORE/LSI/OHRV/Off-Road CI/Rec Marine.  Specifically, the discussion will focus on test procedures for SORE and Tier 4 Off-Road CI, and the exhaust emission test fuel for off-road SI engines, equipment, and vehicles. The meeting notice, staff report, and all other regulatory documents can be found at the following link: Board Hearing Regulatory Materials

Posted April 7, 2010:

Posted January 15, 2009:

  • A public workshop discussing future evaporative control measures for on-road motorcycles was held on January 15, 2009 in El Monte. The presentation can be viewed here:
    (Powerpoint - 128K)

Posted July 19, 2007:

  • Staff is making available for public comment a modified "Test Plan for Evaluation of Evaporative and Exhaust Emissions and Control Technology for Off Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRV)."

    The Notice, which summarizes the most recent modifications, can be read here: (PDF - 20K)

    The modified test plan, which supersedes all previous versions, can be read here: (PDF - 66K)

    For questions concerning this test plan, please contact Pippin Mader (contact information at the bottom of this page).

Posted May 2, 2007:

  • Staff is making available for public comment a second set of Board-directed modifications to California's regulations for off-highway recreational vehicles and engines. The Second Notice of Proposed Modified Text and other related regulatory documents, including instructions for submitting comments, are available at the following ARB webpage:

Posted April 27, 2007:

  • Staff is making available a modified "Test Plan for Evaluation of Evaporative and Exhaust Emissions and Control Technology for Off Highway Recreational Vehicles (OHRV)." This modified test plan supersedes the version posted below (see: August 9, 2006) and is available here: (PDF - 61K)

    For questions concerning this test plan, please contact Pippin Mader (contact information at the bottom of this page).

Posted March 29, 2007:

  • Staff is making the Board-directed modifications to California's regulations for off-highway recreational vehicles and engines, which were amended July 20, 2006, available for public comment. The Notice of Proposed Modified Text and other related regulatory documents, including instructions for submitting comments, are available at the following ARB webpage:

Posted November 9, 2006:

  • Manufacturers of sand cars (e.g., dune buggies, sand rails, etc.) were invited to attend a workshop in El Monte on October 24, 2006. The intent of the workshop was to assist sand car manufacturers with California's off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. The Notice of Public Workshop is available here (PDF - 21K).

    An "overview" presentation given at the workshop is available here (PDF - 100K). A presentation focusing on the "certification" process is available here (PDF - 146K). Also distributed at the workshop was a "Fact Sheet" containing answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to sand cars, available here (PDF - 38K)

Posted September 6, 2006:

  • A Public Workshop for the OHRV regulation was held on September 6, 2006 in Sacramento. The presentation can be viewed at (PDF - 173K).

Posted August 9, 2006:

  • The Draft Test Plan for the OHRV regulation is available here (PDF - 88K)
  • Staff will be holding a workshop to discuss the test plan for the OHRV regulation on September 6, 2006 in Sacramento. The Notice of the Public Workshop is available here (PDF - 15K). The agenda for the workshop is available here (PDF - 3K).

Posted June 2, 2006:


  • Staff has proposed amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) regulation. The amendments include new evaporative emission standards, revisions to the riding seasons for noncomplying vehicles, clarification about which vehicles are subject to the OHRV regulation, and inserting into the regulations the labeling requirements that had been previously incorporated by reference.

    The Public Hearing Notice and related materials, including the Staff Report and Proposed Regulations and Test Procedures, for the OHRV rulemaking are available at the following ARB web page:

Posted May 17, 2006:


  • Automotive Testing Laboratories, Inc. (ATL) performed evaporative emissions testing on off-road recreational vehicles at the request of the Air Resources Board. The ATL final report can be viewed at (ATL Final Report).

Posted March 24, 2006:


  • A Public Workshop for the off-highway recreational vehicle (OHRV) regulations took place on March 23, 2006 in El Monte. Comprising the workshop were two presentations:

    Presentation 1: Near-term amendments - including evaporative controls and adjustments to the riding season schedule. Staff's presentation outlining the near term amendments is available here (PDF - 210K)

    Presentation 2: Future efforts - additional evaporative emission control measures. Staff's presentation for future evaporative emission controls is available here (PDF - 60K)

Posted February 24, 2006:


  • Staff will be holding a workshop to discuss amendments to the OHRV regulation on March 23, 2006 in El Monte. The Notice of the Public Workshop is available here (PDF - 100K)



The off-highway recreational vehicle regulations now contain the following requirements:

Golf Carts:

Effective January 1, 1997, new golf carts purchased for operation within federal ozone non-attainment areas must be zero-emission golf carts (e.g., electric). Golf carts in attainment areas must use engines in compliance with the small off-road engine regulations.

Dirt Bikes / ATVs:

New dirt bikes and ATVs that meet California's emission standards are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration. The 2002 and older non-complying dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Green Sticker registration. The 2003 and newer non-complying dirt bikes and ATVs are eligible for OHV Red Sticker registration.


  • Formal Regulatory Documents: Documents associated with the 1998 amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. These documents include, but are not limited to the staff report, regulations, test procedures and 15-day notice(s).
  • Formal Regulatory Documents: Documents associated with the 2003 amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. These documents include, but are not limited to, the staff report and the regulations.
  • Formal Regulatory Documents: Documents associated with the 2006 amendments to the off-highway recreational vehicle regulations. These documents include, but are not limited to the staff report, regulations, test procedures and 15-day notice(s).
  • OHRV Regulations: Complete version of the applicable regulations for off-highway recreational vehicles and engines.
  • OHRV Test Procedures (pdf) (doc): Complete version of the documents: "California Exhaust Emission Standards and Test Procedures for 1997 and Later Off-Highway Recreational Vehicles and Engines."


Where Can I Get More Information?

  • For exhaust emissions, please contact Jim Watson at (916) 327-1282.
  • For evaporative emissions, please contact  Pippin Mader at (916) 322-8930.
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