Is R-134a Completely Behind Us?
Due to requirements under the 2015 SNAP program (section of the Clean Air Act), to reduce ozone-depleting substances and replace them with more environmentally sustainable alternatives, USA law required elimination of R-134a in all 2021 and later model year cars. Rules also affect Medium/Heavy Duty vehicles (includes Medium Duty trucks, 250-350or 2500-3500 pick-ups, and Heavy-Duty vans).
So, if new cars are no longer being manufactured using R-134a, does that mean this refrigerant is in our rear view mirror, never to be seen again? Does it mean we will be unable to service older vehicle systems because the gas is now not available for sale?
The answer is “no”.
The government-mandated changeover to low global warming R-1234yf incentivized early changeover for auto manufacturers who made the switch and also included the caveat that all must be switched over by MY 2021. Unlike previous “phaseouts”, though, this did not include the requirement that production and sale of R-134a must cease. For that reason, we do not anticipate any of the skyrocketing costs associated with an outright ban. It also means R-134a will be readily available for DIY and mechanic work if needed….at least as long as the demand is there. As time goes on, fewer and fewer older cars will be on the road and we will see demand for R-134a drop relative to the rising demand of its replacement, R-1234yf.