Air conditioning in cars becomes much more expensive
Air conditioning in the car has become an almost unavoidable option because of the comfort, but not without impact on your budget. Indeed, to operate correctly, the system must be maintained regularly, and if you have to recharge with gas, you may be surprised.
New gas is eco-friendly
Since 1 January 2017, all new vehicles with air conditioning have been using a new gas (R1234yf ) that is both effective and more environmentally friendly compared to the most common gas used in automotive air conditioning systems (R134a).
The old gas has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of 1.430. In other words, 1.430 times more harmful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas, heating the earth, and driving climate change. R1234yf has a GWP of only 4.
New gas is more expensive
Because only two producers (Du Pont and Honeywell) produce this new gas, it is more costly than the old R134. R1234yf costs 340 euros per kg, while R134a costs just 100 euros per kg.
Also, garages are obliged to buy new recovery and vacuum equipment for air conditioning services because the new gas is highly flammable as it contains, among other things, propane gas which makes it also quite dangerous in case of a car accident.
This new gas makes the service bill in the garage more expensive for the consumer. For the moment garages charge depending on the size of the installation 200 to 300 euros for a refill.
Service cost of older systems will rise as well
Because of the European F-gas regulations (EU 517/2014), fewer and fewer HFC-gases (halogenated hydrofluorocarbons, such as R134a) are available on the market.
These quotas have already tripled the price of R134a in recent years, and that is only the beginning. Garages that charge 80 euros for a refill will not be able to maintain this price in the future if the price of R134a continues to rise.
From a technical point of view, questions can be asked about the leak-tightness of cooling systems in cars. It is generally accepted that a car air conditioner has leaked so much gas after only five years that it no longer works properly.
Cooling specialists state that cars leak up to 10 times more than static installations (e.g., a heat pump at home). In theory, the cooling circuit is closed and, by extension, virtually maintenance-free. The cause of the leaks is often rubber hoses that are used to absorb vibrations.
Only small amounts
The car sector indicates that the quantities of refrigerant gas in cars are small. A recent car contains on average 500 grams of refrigerant. It’s a fact that many small leaks cause a major ecological problem. In this sense, in many car repair shops, there is also a lack of refrigeration insight and refilling is common practice instead of searching for and repairing small leaks.