Mobile Fuels Laboratory

This page last reviewed August 22, 2011

Fuels Inspection

In response to a need for increased sampling capability and faster turnaround time for sample analyses, in 1987 a fully-equipped and self-contained mobile fuels laboratory was built. The mobile lab allowed fuels inspectors to conduct analyses of the samples they obtained during inspections on the same day they were collected. Since the analysis of samples was immediate, the fuels team was able to take immediate enforcement action when necessary. This increased efficiency improved the ARB's ability to remove noncomplying fuel from the marketplace prior to sale and to reduce the amount of harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere.

Equipment in the Mobile Fuels Lab:

Today, the mobile fuels laboratory contains all the analysis instruments and support equipment necessary to test for the parameters of gasoline and diesel fuel which are regulated by the ARB. Gasoline samples are analyzed for Reid vapor pressure, T50 and T90 distillation temperatures, oxygen, benzene, total aromatics, and olefin and sulfur contents. Diesel fuel is analysed for sulfur content, aromatic hydrocarbon, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbon content. The mobile fuels laboratory also contains support equipment, including two power generators, a battery/inverter system, water system, compressed gas handling system, fume hoods, and safety systems.

How it Works:

Samples of gasoline and diesel fuel are obtained by fuels inspectors from refineries, loading terminals, and service stations and then transported to the mobile laboratory which is located in the vicinity of the current inspection. At the lab, ARB chemists conduct the testing in accordance with approved American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) test methods. The results are then recorded into an ARB test log and reviewed for violations.


Further information about motor vehicle fuels violations and the case development process is available on our Fuels Inspections web page. For further information about the Fuels Enforcement Program, please email Steve Brisby or telephone (916) 322-1210.