Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Phase out of R134a?

I recall several news articles last year talking about the phase out of R134a. I thought it was expected to start in June 2016 and complete phase out by 2020. Does anyone have any insight to this? It is still available at the parts stores and is still pretty inexpensive. Last summer I purchased a 30# jug at sams for about $70 and it is still the same price. I was thinking about this because I just opened that tank for charging my camry after the engine swap.

It is generally being replaced by R513, I believe. I think it is being called Opteon…

Regardless, I wouldn’t worry for the foreseeable future. Mostly, the Commercial HVAC industry is moving in that direction right now in the designing phase. I haven’t heard a lot of news about it on the Automotive front.

Many Dodges already have , and Ford is soon to come with . . R1234yf.
Don’t know the chemical name yet but the dealer has to pay 842.75 for a . . TEN . . pound cylinder.

2,3,3,3- tetrafluoropropene. CH2=CFCF3

What?!? I thought R134 was GOOD for the environment, and that’s why we switched TO it!

R134A was never considered to be GOOD for the environment, just a lot less harmful than R12.

The EPA regularly reviews chemicals in use with an eye towards banning yet another chemical from common use.

I recently saw R134a on sale for $9.99 a 12 ounce can. I don’t remember where, it may have been Big Lots.

What about the other refrigerants ? Why is the auto industry taking it in the shorts ? They treat us shops as though it only us resposible for the atmospheric mess.
What about the refrigerators and freezers ( R22 ? ) in every home and store ?
When we get a car into the shop . . the freon is alreaady gone ! . . That’s why they’re here. WE don’t just open it up and let it all out .

@“ken green”, you don’t have a phalanx of lobbyists making your case. If the EPA beurocrats could get a well paying job in your shop when they retired, the story would be entirely different.

@“oldtimer 11” I bought a couple cans of R134a for $3.99 a throw last summer at a tractor supply place. The refrigerant on my old Mustang had been leaking out at a rate of about 1 can a summer for a while, then suddenly it became 2 cans in about a 36 hour period. Luckily, it turned out that the schrader valves on both the high and low sides were leaking, it was fixed for less $100 including diagnosis.

1234yf… Creative name… :smile:

Changes in refrigerants aren’t in response to auto shops or anyone in particular. The world is in a mad dash to eliminate gases with high GWP from use. Everybody is taking it in the shorts. Unfortunately, it needs to be done. There is no way around it. People tend to cast scientists off as alarmists, but they study this; we don’t. We can pay now or pay later. Later is more expensive.

In time, the gas will become less expensive. It is pricey for a 30lb cylinder because it isn’t widely used. When it is, it won’t be as expensive anymore. R134a is literally everywhere. There is a ton of stock, and it is therefore cheaper. Volume and demand drive the price down.

That said… For the common user… Considering that you can buy a 30lb cylinder for a little over $100, that 9.99 suddenly turns into a $400 per 30lbs. That means, the consumer is getting it in the shorts already when buying recharge bottles due to the special packaging size.

Changes are inevitable. You change, or you’re history. Ford and Chrysler are apparently changing before circumstances force them to do so. Those that don’t will pay a higher costs.

Auto-shops… well, I sympathize. Better start making plans now.

I have used a very environmentally friendly yet flammable hydrocarbon R290 in my truck.

R1234yf I have heard is also flammable and some automakers are looking into using a CO2 system. I believe that R134a by itself is not flammable but when it is saturated with the compressor oil, it is essentially flammable.

I personally think we need to go back to a R290 and R600 system and get away from these designer refrigerants that are “harmful” for the environment. But the lobbyist would never let that happen because they would never make any money. R290 is simply propane that is currently selling for less than 1 penny per ounce ($0.445 / liquid gallon) on the wholesale level you will find out why we would never use that as a refrigerant.

I have several cans of R12 still on my shelf from many years ago. When it gets hot, I put them up for sale on craigslist for $40 per can.

I have a 30# of R134a and the small 12oz cans are only $5 at my local farm supply. I will probably pick up a box of them because they are convenient to use over dragging out the big tank for a small job.

I didn’t realize That it was Opteon YF… LOL I work in Commercial HVAC… Our version of it is R513.

I’ve done a little digging.

Opteon YF is rated with Low Flammability. Both Isobutane and Propane are Highly flammable. That tends to be a big difference. It’s like different types of fuels. Some burn rapidly. Others burn VERY slowly.

So, in essence, the risk of ignition during an accident is lower. If all vehicles used R290 or R600a, then the risk of additional injury would be greater. It is mathematical, not subject to bias or opinion. Consider the cost to society beyond the cost of the actual refrigerant. In other words, insurance companies would capitalize on it.

Lobbyists can lobby, but they tend to lobby to keep their more harmful and cheaper products on the market. Why would they lobby to move toward something that is MORE expensive and MORE difficult to produce?

They wouldn’t. They’re being regulated. GWP of Opteon is 4. (One point higher than 290 and 600a). Propane and Isobutane are not illegal to use. They are illegal to use in systems that aren’t designed for them. All refrigerants are ILLEGAL to use in systems that aren’t designed for them because they would likely develop problems and leaks.

If anybody is colluding together, it would be within the industries themselves. I don’t see this as a lobbyist issue… Generally, the lobbyists fight to continue producing the cheaper and easier to manufacture gas.