By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine
In early May, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and two other environmental groups filed a petition with the U.S. EPA seeking to restrict the sale of all refrigerants used in motor vehicles to certified technicians only.
The petition is in anticipation of a future auto industry move to the use of HFO-1234yf refrigerants in vehicles. At present, such a changeover may be on the industry’s horizon but is by no means guaranteed. While the European markets and makers must adopt new refrigerants by law, no such rules presently exist in the U.S. or Canada and many vehicle makers are still weighing the costs and benefits of such a change.
The NRDC feels that restricting all refrigerants will be required to prevent cross-contamination within the new systems. They note that R-1234yf will be much more expensive than the present R-134a gas and that may tempt do-it-yourselfers to seek the cheapest way out when a new system has a problem.
The document notes “Do-it-yourself vehicle owners rarely own or have access to any of these [necessary] tools and most often merely recharge leaking systems without repair as frequently as necessary to maintain cooling, leading to higher total emissions. This DIY strategy has the appearance of immediate savings compared to professional service but often is more costly in the long run.”
Additionally, they said “Cross contamination of refrigerant increases the cost of service because the mixed refrigerant must be removed from vehicles and from recovery/recycle equipment and either remanufactured or destroyed …”
The current petition also reinforced NRDC’s earlier call to remove R-134a from the SNAP list of approved refrigerants, but this time made the request to apply specifically to the chemical’s use in domestic refrigerators and freezers as well as commercial food coolers. Their earlier request sought to eliminate the refrigerant’s use in motor vehicles by removing it from the list of approved alternatives.
EPA did agree to receive comments and formally review the first petition but has yet to comment or act on the recent one.
The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.