What does desiccant look like after 16 years?


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

We’ve all heard this word before, probably for the first time during one of our HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) classes when we were aspiring young technicians still in high school, college or post-secondary votech school. We learned that the desiccant in a mobile A/C system is located inside either the accumulator in an FOT (fixed orifice tube) system, or inside the receiver / dryer of a TXV (thermal expansion valve) system.

The job of the desiccant is to adsorb moisture, or water that may be in the system. If left unchecked, this moisture can be extremely harmful to air conditioning components. It can freeze inside the expansion device, restricting the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator. There is also concern that if it combines with refrigerant, it can develop hydrofluoric acid, which can damage metal surfaces inside the system. Too much moisture can also cause high head pressures, adversely affecting A/C system performance.

When desiccant is new, of course, it’s usually clean, dry and white or clear in color. But since it’s typically located inside a solid steel or aluminum cylinder, we don’t often get to see what it looks like, or what happens to it over time. That’s why we decided to take our latest accumulator over to the workbench and cut it open to see what’s inside. This one is off of a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix that only has 106, 066 miles on the odometer. It’s a Delphi (then Harrison Thermal Systems) Accumulator / Dehydrator, part number 7841.

DSC_0012 (Figure 1)Accumulators are usually easy to spot after you’ve worked on mobile A/C systems for a while. They are usually made from aluminum, and are quite a bit larger than their R/D counterparts.

DSC_0032 (Figure 2)We cut this accumulator just below the factory welded seam. Inside you can see the desiccant pouch, dip tube and filter screen.

DSC_0042 (Figure 3) Using a razor blade it’s easy to cut open the felt pouch which contains the desiccant beads. GM puts UV Dye in most of their A/C systems right at the factory, which is why the beads and sack look green. Some of the beads are darker in color, likely indicating dirt in the system which is expected considering its age and mileage.

Have you opened up any A/C components and found something unexpected? Maybe you’ve found something that made you say, “Hey, that’s pretty cool!” Why not share your photos and findings with your fellow MACS members! Send an e-mail to steve@macsw.org to share your story.

Members of MACS are part of a close-knit community of mobile A/C professionals. If you’re not a member yet, you should be! Visit www.macsw.org to learn more about joining the industry’s premier association today!

 

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A/C Groan


You may think that a bit of noise with the air conditioning turned on is not the highest priority item for a motorist. After all, if the car is running and the A/C is cooling, what’s the big deal? Well, that works for a while, but then the noise gets to the driver, and although he might not be willing to break the bank to fix it, he doesn’t want it to continue. It’s beyond just annoyance: if it isn’t normal, the motorist is likely to believe that it is something wrong, and unless it’s fixed, is likely to lead to an expensive repair.

So the car is in the shop and in this case it’s a 2005 MINI, although it could be any one of a number of cars. The technician begins with the most obvious possibility: is the compressor mount tight? Yes it is. How about the drive belt? The technician looks for a rumble at the compressor pulley and doesn’t see anything that even resembles a slight wobble. Next step is to check the power steering and water pumps both visually and with a stethoscope; nothing there. He double-checks the power steering with a helper turning the steering wheel back and forth, but still no answer.

The technician feels the high-pressure line and yes, there’s some vibration, but no affect on groan. The condenser fan came on when the system high side pressure went over 220 psi, which comes across as normal.

Okay, that’s all the visual stuff, and what’s next is a check for an applicable service bulletin. There are several A/C bulletins, but nothing seems to apply. We would suggest that you read through all bulletins in the time period that might refer to moan and vibration, because although the complaint was about moan when the A/C is turned on, that could well be just the symptom that shows up when the cause is elsewhere.

Figure-082---2015_06msrfig9

That said, the technician finally decides to just look at the engine while a helper turns the A/C on and off. With that step he can see that there’s excess vibration from the engine, which leads him to inspect the engine mounts. He spots oily goo at one of the mounts and therein lies the answer: a hydraulic engine mount leaked out its fill of oil. The fix for a defective mount (hydraulic or rubber) starts with replacement of the mount of course, but on many cars should be followed up with an alignment procedure for the mounts. Check the service information.

We’d like to note that there’s another possible cause on some cars that gets traced back to the engine mount: a diaphragm type mount with an electronic control unit that duty-cycles the diaphragm to cancel vibration at idle and in some cases just off-idle. A bad diaphragm, poor electrical connection or leaking mount could increase vibration and although engine vibration itself is unlikely to be noisy, as the MINI example shows, it can produce noise. In that case, A/C-on groan.

 

Many Lexus (and other cars) have an electronically controlled vacuum solenoid valve that modulates vacuum to a diaphragm unit built into a liquid-filled mount, so you have to check the electrical end, the vacuum feed and the liquid-filled section of the mount.

 

The metallurgy and mounting of automobile components affects the frequency at which they may produce noise. Auto engineers run all kinds of tests to excite parts of the car to determine if they are likely to produce noise. So although the A/C turned on may be the origin for the noise, the source of the noise may be anywhere in the general area.

 

For example, the higher density of R-1234yf resulted in a pulsation that produced a noticeable vibration/noise on the Cadillac ATS with the 2.0-liter turbo, because the A/C compressor mount was located very close to an engine mount. And although engine mounts are designed to absorb vibration, the combination of extra vibration in a specific frequency, very close to the front mount, was a problem the mount did not muffle. Either that mount will be redesigned or the compressor might be moved when the vehicle is changed over to R-1234yf.

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USITC Antidumping Investigation: Round 2


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

On March 3rd, 2016 the US Department of Commerce and US International Trade Commission (USITC) were petitioned by the American HFC Coalition to initiate an antidumping duty investigation on R-134a imports from China. Later that month on March 24th, conferences were held in Washington, D.C. Based on their preliminary investigation, ITC found reasonable indication that the US R-134a industry is “materially injured” by imports of the refrigerant being sold at less than fair value.

The petitioners are a group of US domestic producers, wholesalers and suppliers of R-134a, as well as District Lodge 154 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (a labor union). They include refrigerant manufacturers Chemours, Honeywell, Arkema and Mexichem; cylinder manufacturers Amtrol and Worthington Industries; and reclaimer Hudson Technologies. Several Chinese manufacturers responded to the preliminary investigation, including Zhejiang Quhua Fluor-Chemistry Co., Ltd.; Sinochem Environmental Protection Chemicals (Taicang) Co., Ltd.; and Zhejiang Sanmei Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

As part of the preliminary investigation, USITC received questionnaire responses from three US manufacturers, thirty US importers and six Chinese producers of R-134a refrigerant.

USITC conducted a similar investigation which ran from October 2013 to December 2014, which although it did initially cause imports of R-134a from China to be subjected to duty deposits, ultimately ended without any collections taking place. The scope of those previous investigations was the same as this current investigation with one notable difference: The 2013 petition that sparked the 15 month long investigation was submitted solely by Mexichem Fluor, Inc., although with support during hearings by then E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. This time around however, several others have joined in as noted above.

Preliminary investigation results were published in April, whereby all six Commissioners voted in the affirmative, determining that there is a reasonable indication of material injury. The US Department of Commerce (International Trade Administration) then continued its investigation on R-134a imports from China and was expected to release its preliminary antidumping duty determination by August 10th, 2016.

However with just about 13 days to go before publication, the Department postponed further action following a request made on July 13th by the American HFC Coalition. Because the request was reasonable and timely, the Department agreed, but still must issue their preliminary determination within 190 days, or by September 29, 2016.

Unless postponed, final determination is expected 75 days later, or by Monday, December 12, 2016. That should put any duties imposed on imported R-134a refrigerant from China, if approved, into the beginning of 2017.

tanks017

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Ford dealers selling their first MPVs with R-1234yf


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

We learned about Ford’s plans to begin building the 2017 Escape with R-1234yf refrigerant during a meeting with their regional parts and service manager at the Philadelphia Auto Show back in January, and we finally had a chance to check out one of these newest MPVs (Multipurpose Passenger Vehicle) this week at Lansdale’s Yocum Ford.

DSC_0903 2017 Ford Escape FIGURE 1
 Ford redesigned the Escape for the 2017 model year, incorporating their newest R-1234yf A/C system.

Ford is offering three different engine choices for the 2017 Escape: The 2.5L with independent variable cam timing (iVCT), the 1.5L EcoBoost® iVCT, or the 2.0L EcoBoost® with twin-scroll turbocharger. But either way, each one is charged with 1.50 pounds (or 24 ounces) of R-1234yf refrigerant.

It also uses PAG (Polyalkylene Glycol) oil similar to previous models, but take note: it’s not the same PAG oil that Ford used with R-134a! The 2016 Escape (which was charged with R-134a) used their YN-12-D oil (Ford Specification Number WSH-M1C231-B). That’s not the case for 2017, which requires YN-35 oil (Spec # WSS-M2C300-A2) to work with the new refrigerant R-1234yf. Sure, they’re both PAG oils, but they’re composition is different and they should not be mixed or interchanged.

DSC_0002 2017 Ford Escape R-1234yf FIGURE 2

All 2017 Escapes require 24 ounces of refrigerant, but check out the oil amounts. At just 2.7 ounces for models with the 2.0L engine, it’s one of the smallest oil charges we’ve seen!

This is Ford’s first US production vehicle being sold with the new refrigerant as the company prepares to meet upcoming EPA rules set to take effect as early as 2019, when the very first 2021 model year vehicles will start being seen. Finalized in July 2015, these new regulations make R-134a unacceptable for use in passenger car and light truck vehicle production beginning with the 2021 model year, which is why R-1234yf adoption is speeding up.

DSC_0041 2017 Ford Escape R-1234yf IHX FIGURE 3

Similar to other vehicles already using the gas, Escape includes a rather long inline heat exchanger (IHX) which acts to improve system efficiency. Here we can see the high-side line connected to the IHX, which surrounds the low-side suction line. It helps to subcool some of that liquid even more before it reaches the Thermal Expansion Valve (TXV) and eventually, the evaporator.

DSC_0887 2017 Escape FIGURE 4

Escape is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Titanium. A/C is standard on each, but if you want dual-zone automatic climate control, you’ll have to go with SE or Titanium (our test model). S comes standard with a manual, single zone A/C system with no option to upgrade.

DSC_0047 2017 Ford Escape Low Side Cap FIGURE 5

Pop Quiz! Can you tell which A/C line is pictured here? And one more: What’s missing from this picture? Study the picture carefully yourself, then scroll down to find the answers!

More information about Yocum Ford can be found on their www.yocumford.com website. You can also find out more about the 2017 Ford Escape by visiting www.ford.com and clicking on Crossovers & SUVs or by clicking on this link: http://www.ford.com/suvs/escape/?gnav=header-suvs

Stay up-to-date on all things A/C, including the latest developments with R-1234yf refrigerant, rules and regulations at MACS website www.macsw.org and clicking on News.

Answer to Caption 5: If you said suction line (or low-side line / service port), then you’re right! But can you tell what’s missing from this picture? Look closely at the cap: those nubs are a sure sign that this is a tether cap, designed to work with a small strap (also known as a tether) to keep the cap securely attached to the service port, even when it’s unscrewed from the port. This one’s missing; otherwise we’d see a ring around the cap connected to the attaching strap. The service port cap is considered to be the primary seal of the service port, and the idea behind a tether is that it will help us all to not lose those caps and act as a reminder to put them back on! After all, refrigerant leakage is the number one cause of A/C system performance issues, which is why we should do all we can to repair and even help prevent leaks from happening in the first place.

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A/C performance issue


The part exists, sort of. The 2001 Dodge Caravan minivan with Automatic Temperature Control had poor rear A/C cooling performance and the technician decides (correctly) the issue is with the rear expansion valve. But it’s not like one with which he’s familiar. It has a solenoid on it (Figure 5). He tries to get a replacement, but the one the dealer has is not the same. It has no solenoid. But the dealer insists it’s the correct replacement and so he decides to try it. He just folds back and tapes over the wiring from the harness and installs the new expansion valve. The rear system works fine and the minivan is out the door.

Figure-005---msr2015_2fig5

We occasionally see these “different” parts and if you’re wondering, “What gives?” we’ll talk about this one as an example. The solenoid comes with a two-wire pigtail, with one wire that was hot-wired into battery current at the rear blower motor relay on a fused output circuit, and the second wire was connected to the ATC control head, to a terminal that would provide the ground. The ATC control head was supposed to be programmed so that with the rear A/C turned off, the solenoid would shut, blocking refrigerant flow to the rear evaporator. This would improve refrigerant circulation through the front system for better cooling performance.

Sounds like a good idea, but later testing indicated that oil might be trapped in the rear system, affecting lubrication of the compressor and shortening its life. In any case, a lot of those solenoid-equipped expansion valves were installed, but the decision was made to cancel the project, and the control head was never reprogrammed to operate the solenoid. But Chrysler apparently had a supply contract for those solenoid-equipped valves, and so it used them in production. But without the reprogramming, they didn’t work. Is it possible that some early ones were programmed? Not that we heard, but it doesn’t really matter. Other upgrades to the system produced acceptable performance and if you ever see that valve on a 2001 model, at least you know the story.

The solenoid was described in factory service information and supposedly was covered for diagnosis by the DRB III scan tool, but probably not.

More often there are “phantom” systems that are covered in shop manuals that never get into production. We remember a two-stage front-end belt accessory drive for Mustang many years ago. It was intended to be a fuel economy enhancer, by reducing the power draw of the accessories. Ford fully developed it, and there it was, described in full detail in the shop manual. But it was expensive and therefore dropped from production before the first models rolled off the assembly line.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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OSHA offers an APP to keep you safe in the heat!


OSHA Heat Safety APP

Osha

The App allows workers and supervisors to calculate the heat index for their work site, and, based on the heat index, displays a risk level to outdoor workers. Then, with a simple “click,” you can get reminders about the protective measures that should be taken at that risk level to protect workers from heat-related illness, reminders about drinking enough fluids, scheduling rest breaks, planning for and knowing what to do in an emergency, adjusting work operations, gradually building up the workload for new workers, training on heat illness signs and symptoms, and monitoring each other for signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.

Working in full sunlight can increase heat index values by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this in mind and plan additional precautions for working in these conditions.

The OSHA Heat Tool is available in Spanish for Android and iPhone devices. To access the Spanish version on the iPhone, set the phone language setting to Spanish before downloading the app.

Stay informed and safe in the heat, check your risk level.

For more information about safety while working in the heat, see OSHA’s heat illness webpage, including new online guidance about using the heat index to protect workers.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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MACS ACTION Magazine honored with four IAMC awards


 

2015covers 

MACS ACTION magazine has been honored with four medals for editorial excellence by the International Automotive Media Competition. The IAMC program recognizes and encourages excellence in all forms of automotive media from works published, aired, or broadcast in 2015.

 

The MACS ACTION magazine works honored include;  a silver medal for “He wrote the book,” a column by Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and chief operating officer that appeared in the June 2015 issue of ACTION™, a silver medal for “Clean air started here, “ a column by Steve Schaeber, MACS manager of service training that was published in the  September 2015 issue of ACTION™, a bronze medal for “A/C diagnostics and troubleshooting,” a feature from the June 2015 issue and a bronze medal for “Marks Air installs a new generation,” by Marion Posen, MACS VP member relations and marketing from the June 2015 issue.

These awards were announced Sunday, July 31, 2016 during a morning ceremony at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s in Plymouth, MI.

“We are very pleased to have MACS ACTION magazine recognized once again by the judges of IAMC. Our writers and contributors provide our readers with the best content possible in our efforts to chronicle the total vehicle climate and thermal management industry,” remarked Elvis L. Hoffpauir, MACS president and chief operating officer.

MACS ACTION magazine publishes eight annual issues and is distributed to 13,000 readers by mail and another 30,000 in digital form. MACS publications have been honored 85 times since 2001 for editorial excellence.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

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A fleet for field work: servicing specialty equipment


By Stephen Petit, Siefkes/Petit Communications

In heavy-duty A/C work, the service vehicle is essentially a shop on wheels — it’s vital for reaching equipment that operates virtually around the clock or can never see the highway.

NVB Equipment in Fresno, Calif., has 16 trucks covering the entire state. On any given day, service men may be in the middle of an almond grove, on a dairy farm, or at a forestry job far off the grid.

Since most off-highway equipment isn't licensed for the road, routine maintenance and repairs take place in the field. NVB's service trucks are A/C shops on wheels.

Since most off-highway equipment isn’t licensed for the road, routine maintenance and repairs take place in the field. NVB’s service trucks are A/C shops on wheels.

More than 65% of the company’s revenue comes from field service.

“Each vehicle carries $30,000 to $45,000 worth of inventory and has all the tools for just about any job,” says NVB’s Mike Oddo. “Preventive maintenance, emergency service… We can do a system hose-up and charge for a new A/C unit installation directly from the back of the truck.”

Oddo offers these tips for keeping field service trucks productive and profitable:

  1. Big but not too big: NVB’s vehicles are medium-duty commercial trucks. Rated at 26,000 lbs. GVW, they’re big enough to handle tools and inventory but just below the threshold where the technician needs a CDL.

“A bigger truck gives you increased options with body size but it’s more involved in terms of licensing, maintenance, and operations,” says Oddo. “You have to balance size with added complexity and cost.”

  1. One truck, one technician: NVB assigns one technician to each truck. He’s responsible for all tools and inventory, and functions as his own service writer. “When you slip-seat, you have to keep the trucks absolutely uniform when it comes to organization and stocking levels,” Oddo says. “It’s really hard to do when you’re performing such a wide range of work. We’d rather make one person accountable and keep it simple.”
  1. Power and water on board: Powering welders, vacuum pumps, air compressors, recovery machines, floodlights, and other equipment in the field is a challenge in California where emissions from idling and APUs are tightly controlled.

NVB trucks are equipped with a generator but usually power everything through inverters and isolated deep-cycle batteries. Another key spec: water tanks and electric pumps. If the technician has to wash out an evaporator coil or a condenser, he can do so without an external water source.

“We get instructions such as: ‘Take the dirt road for 4 miles until you come to the big rock, then stay to the right,’” says Oddo. “It’s an adventure almost every time we get dispatched, and I guess that’s part of what makes specialty OE work interesting. You never know where you’re going next.”

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be!

Become a member and receive a monthly technical newsletter with information like what you’ve just read in this blog post visit http://bit.ly/10zvMYg for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org .

To locate a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area.

Click here to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

Mobile A/C professionals should plan to attend MACS 2017 Training Event and Trade Show, February 15-18 at the Anaheim Marriott in Anaheim, CA.

Click here to see MACS current public training schedule.

The MACS website is located at www.macsw.org

 

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Repeat blower motor issue


By Steve Schaeber, MACS Technical Editor

An old boss of mine used to have a saying that goes something like: I ain’t got time to be doing the same thing two and three times! In fact, I can still picture him saying this to me in his (somewhat impatient) North Carolina accent! Of course he was talking about the frustration of having to do a job over and over again because for some (usually simple) reason, things didn’t go right the first time.

Many technicians know this frustration all too well. After completing a repair on a customer’s vehicle, there’s not a much worse experience than a return visit from the vehicle’s owner voicing the same or a similar concern. This is especially frustrating if they’ve been back more than once. But sometimes no matter how much time and effort we put into diagnostics, repairs can keep recurring for us to tackle yet again until we get it right.

Owners of certain MINI vehicles produced from September 1, 2011, including models R55 thru R61 (the Clubman, Hardtop, Convertible, Coupe, Roadster, Countryman and Paceman, respectively) may complain that the blower motor does not operate at any fan speed, while others might say it works intermittently when set to full speed. This can happen with the controls set to either heat or A/C.

Issues such as these usually lead a technician down the road of testing and ultimately replacing the blower motor resistor or control module.  This is the device responsible for applying the correct voltage to the blower motor, based on driver input from the vehicle’s manual 4-stage fan setting on the IHKS (Integrated Heating/Air Conditioning) controls. But when these blower motor resistors are being replaced too often, further investigation is necessary.

To alert technicians of t its findings, BMW has issued TSB # SI M64 02 15, which describes how the blower motor may be faulty, causing the blower resistor to fail. They advise replacing the blower motor unit and the blower motor resistor at the same time to avoid a repeat customer visit for a blower issue.

MACS has often recommended that technicians make checking for TSBs a part of their routine diagnostic procedures. Too often we come across situations when an unexpected defective part is the actual root cause of a problem, while blame is placed on another component. Unfortunately these TSB checks don’t always take place, although it makes sense. Blower motor resistors were known for many years to be items that sometimes fail, and so it’s not unheard of to make a diagnostic call such as this.

DSC_0093

In  an era of instant access to technical information via the web, we think it’s worth taking the time to double check those TSBs. Doing so might help you to avoid a  customer comeback.

Note: Which TSBs have helped you find and fix those troublesome HVAC issues? Drop a line to steve@macsw.org and share your story with the MACS community!

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US EPA, US DOT, California’s Air Resources Board Issue Draft Technical Assessment Report of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Economy Standards for Model Year 2022-2025 Cars and Light Trucks


 The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resource Board (CARB) today took the first step in the mid-term evaluation of the National Program for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for light duty cars and trucks by releasing a draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) for public comment.  The release of the TAR delivers on a commitment that EPA made in 2012 as part of the rulemaking establishing a National Program for the 2017-2025 period.  The draft TAR covers model years 2022-2025.

The draft TAR shows that automotive manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market at a rapid pace, and that they will be able to meet the MY 2022-2025 standards established in the 2012 rulemaking with a wide range of cost-effective technologies.  Moreover, it indicates that these standards can be achieved by relying primarily on advanced gasoline vehicles.  The report also shows that manufacturers will be able to meet the stricter standards at similar or even a lower cost than was anticipated in the 2012 rulemaking, with substantial savings on fuel costs for consumers.

“Today’s draft report shows that automakers are developing far more technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, at similar or lower costs, than we thought possible just a few years ago.  And they are adopting these fuel-saving technologies into their fleets even faster than anticipated,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.  “This is simply great news for consumers, manufacturers, workers and the climate.”

 

EPA News Release

“Automakers have already implemented new technologies that are saving American drivers money and cut national fuel consumption and carbon emissions today,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind.  “The draft report supports that the administration’s fuel economy program can continue to incentivize innovation and reduce fuel consumption while also ensuring that consumers can continue to choose the vehicles they want to drive.  The agencies welcome public comments to assist the agencies’ analysis and decision making.”

“After almost four years of close collaboration on the draft Technical Assessment Report with our federal partners, the conclusions are clear: costs are lower for many technologies than we originally thought, market uptake is strong, and expected consumer benefits remain high,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols.

The National Program is designed to enable consumers to choose the car or truck they want, while ensuring that the vehicles they select will reduce carbon emissions and save on fuel costs.  The program was developed jointly by the EPA and DOT, in coordination with CARB, and it applies to passenger cars and light duty trucks through model year 2025.  It requires manufacturers to improve average fuel efficiency and reduce average greenhouse gas emissions over time.

In recent years, and responding to the standards established in the National Program, automakers have been rapidly adopting fuel-efficient technologies like turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics, and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems.  There are over 100 car, SUV, and pick-up truck versions on the market today that already meet 2020 or later standards, suggesting that automakers should be well-positioned to meet future average standards through additional application of those technologies.

Today’s draft report is the first of several steps the agencies will take as part of assessing the standards for new vehicles in the 2022-2025 model years (MY).  The report itself is not a rulemaking and does not change any of the existing requirements under the existing National Program.

The National Program does not set a single fuel economy target number for all vehicles, but instead it establishes separate footprint-based standards for passenger cars and light trucks.  A manufacturer’s compliance obligation depends on the mix of vehicles that it produces for sale in each model year – if a manufacturer produces mostly larger vehicles, its average standard will be less stringent than if it produces mostly smaller vehicles, reflecting the reality that smaller vehicles often have better fuel economy and lower carbon emissions than larger vehicles.  This approach ensures that consumers can continue to choose from the full range of fuel efficient vehicles on the market, and at the same time, it improves efficiency and emissions for all types of vehicles.

While the Draft TAR analysis focuses on the MY 2022-2025 standards, the report also shows that auto manufacturers over-complied with the standards for each of the first three years of the program, and in 2014 outperformed the standards by 1.4 miles per gallon.  This occurred during a period during which the automotive industry has seen six consecutive years of sales increases and a new all-time sales record in 2015, reflecting positive consumer response to vehicles complying with the standards.

For more information on today’s announcement, visit:  https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/climate/mte.htm

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