Reader Question: Carbon Credits for AC Refrigerant?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Roberts asks: A year or so ago, i went to an AC Delco current products introduction. One of the subjects was the use of the new freon, R1234yf. I recall the instructor saying by using the new freon,  the EPA would give a mileage credit against the new CAFE  mileage requirement of 51 mpg coming in the next couple years. What credits against the mileage requirements  is the EPA giving for various technical reason? Is this an admission that the 51 mpg is just crazy talk?

My reply: This business of changing refrigerants is nominally about “protecting the ozone” (the reason trotted out for the banning of R12) but I am convinced it’s about protecting the revenue stream. Outlaw R12, impose hideous taxes, prohibit it from being sold to people not “certified” – and thus force them to either pay a shop or replace with the new refrigerant, which then gets outlawed/taxed in turn.

AC systems do use energy – whether mechanically driven or electrically driven – and so I assume an AC system that uses less might be eligible in some Byzantine formulation for a CAFE credit.

But I’ll tell you what: Nothing cools like an old GM Harrison AC rig with Freon in its veins!

. . .

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1 COMMENT

  1. The old freon and the old major appliances for sure work far better then what they build today. I have a late 1960’s stand up freezer. It doesn’t leak the freon (thankfully, since I doubt i could replace that kind at any price). It can pump out cold better then probably two of today’s freezers working together. Frankly I doubt I would save any money with a modern one, it’s efficient in different ways then what they build today.

    It may not have the insulation that new ones have, but it seems like it can do a much deeper freeze. The power was out for a couple days after a tornado in 2008, and the food was still frozen solid when the power came back on (on the flip side if the food isn’t prepped good you get major freezer burn). And it was super cold in under an hour again too. It actually doesn’t run that much, at least it doesn’t seem like it. It’s built with an empty 6 inch space under it (which saved it from a minor flood once). Maybe it helps it breath better.

    But yeah, there is nothing like it today. Just ones that need replacing every decade.

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