MANAGEMENT consultancy IHS Markit predicts that despite the European MAC directive banning R134a in all new cars from January 1 2017, just 60 per cent of European-made vehicles will use YF largely because many exports will continue with R134a.
From 2021 the United States will ban R-134a in new vehicles for the domestic market, with restricted use for export vehicles allowed until 2025.
As reported in the August 2016 edition of SightGlass News, there is clear evidence that vehicle manufacturers will avoid filling systems with expensive R1234yf if they can get away with it.
The same unfortunately applies to safety and tailpipe pollution.
A number of cars sold in Australia had to be updated to reflect the introduction of Euro 5 emissions standards on November 1 this year, despite being Euro 6-compliant on the EU market since 2014.
By the same token, some cars sold in Australia and New Zealand proudly bearing a five-star ANCAP crash-test rating are foisted on developing countries with no airbags and, in some cases, poorer structural protection for occupants. Thankfully the NCAP testing regime is spreading across Asia and Latin America.
On the other hand, some common sense must be applied to enforcing or incentivising manufacturers to adopt low-GWP refrigerants.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014 refrigerant choice was responsible for around 40 per cent of the emissions credits reported in the US, according to Environmental Protection Agency data.
While HFC emissions are a serious issue, the US appears to have over-incentivised the use of R1234yf and inadvertently given vehicle manufacturers a free kick when it comes to producing gas guzzlers.
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute project manager Brandon Schoettle agrees.
“It seems funny to single out air-conditioning as a way to get credits since improving it is only a drop in the bucket compared to the billions of tons of carbon dioxide vehicles put out each year,” he told the Wall Street Journal.