WASHINGTON (Aug. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to ban the use of HFC-134a as a motor-vehicle air-conditioning system refrigerant starting with model-year 2021 new vehicles.
According to the Specialty Equipment Market Association, the agency also has proposed a ban on the use of SP34E, R-416A and several other refrigerants as of model-year 2017. Although the refrigerants were approved for use years ago, SEMA said the EPA has identified other chemicals as being more environmentally friendly substitutes to chlorofluorocarbons that deplete the ozone layer.
In early 2011 the EPA approved HFO-1234yf as a new air-conditioning refrigerant for use in new cars and light trucks to help meet federal standards for greenhouse gas emissions. According to the agency, and independent studies, HFO-1234yf has a global-warming potential (GWP) that is 99.7-percent less than the current chemical, HFC-134a, used in most car A/C units.
The EPA said it was following the lead set by the European Union, which is requiring all new vehicle models sold in Europe by 2017 to use a refrigerant with low-global warming potential.