Why has re-gassing air conditioning become so expensive?

Posted on August 10th, 2018 by Rob Marshall

Why has re-gassing air conditioning become so expensive?

We have received members comments on how air conditioning regassing has become considerably more expensive, especially during this summer.

While you could be sceptical and comment that unscrupulous garage owners have bumped-up their prices during the summer heat, the truth is somewhat different.

Saving the planet or an air ‘con’?

Air conditioning gas is a refrigerant and, unsurprisingly, is not very good for the ozone layer, should it escape into the atmosphere – which is inevitable, because motorcar air conditioning systems are not sealed fully. A typical car, therefore, may require a gas recharge every two to three years, even if there is nothing wrong with the system.

Most cars in the UK use an old-style gas, R134a, which is 1,300 times more damaging than CO2 from a global warming perspective. The EU has been limiting its production and, consequently, a shortage has resulted and demand has pushed-up the gas’s wholesale price.

The replacement refrigerant, R1234yf, is only four times more damaging than CO2 and has been used on new cars since 1st January last year. Unfortunately, that tends to be even more expensive and its sole manufacturers, Honeywell / Dupont, have been accused of holding a monopoly.

In the longer term, R1234yf is likely to decrease in price, while the older R134a gas will increase in price not only due to a drop in demand but also to further reductions in its production.

Whichever way you look at it, it appears higher prices for air conditioning regassing are here to stay.