WASHINGTON (Nov. 8, 2013) — The Automotive Industry Aftermarket Association (AAIA) said it applauds a final rule by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing consumers unrestricted access to a new vehicle air conditioning refrigerant.
The EPA issued a final rule in the Nov. 1 Federal Register. Under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the agency said, it was finalizing an amendment to the Significant New Use Rule for chemicals, eliminating the requirement to notify the agency at least 90 days in advance before manufacturing or processing the refrigerant HFO-1234yf for consumers to recharge their own auto A/C units.
The effective date for the new rule is Dec. 2, 2013, the EPA said.
AAIA and the Automotive Refrigeration Products Institute (ARPI) had filed suit against the EPA to allow consumer sales of HFO-1234yf. The final rule is a direct result of the lawsuit, according to the AAIA.
In their lawsuit, AAIA and ARPI argued that the EPA had greatly overestimated the health and environmental dangers of HFO-1234yf.
Subsequent studies showed HFO-1234yf to be much safer than its predecessor, R-134a, AAIA said. With carbon dioxide as a baseline of 1, HFO-1234yf has a Global Warming Potential of 4, whereas the GWP of R-134a is 130, it said.
Honeywell International Inc. and DuPont Co. developed HFO-1234yf as a safer, more environmentally friendly alternative to R-134a, AAIA said. General Motors Co. has started to use HFO-1234yf on some of its vehicle lines, and other auto makers are expected to follow suit, the association said.