Keep your cool without global warming
As Australia begins phasing down HFC use (from January 2018), many new vehicle manufacturers may be switching to new air conditioning systems using the more environmentally friendly refrigerant R-1234yf, instead of R-134a.
The Benefits of using R-1234yf
"Twelve Thirty Four", as R-1234yf is sometimes known, is a HFO type refrigerant delivering high performance, resulting in a more efficient air-conditioning system, fewer emissions and reduced fuel consumption. Hydrofluoro olefins (HFO's) have a double carbon bond meaning they trap less heat in the atmosphere than Hydrofluoro carbons (HFC's) and break down faster.
Importantly, R-1234yf systems are specifically engineered to prevent refrigerant leakage and loss, including into the interior of the vehicle. Leakage of refrigerants contribute considerably to greenhouse gases.
Why the switch?
Older type refrigerants accumulate in the upper atmosphere as greenhouse gases and contribute significantly to Global Warming for considerable time. In in the mid 90's the old R-12 (or Freon), which takes a very long time to breakdown into a non-greenhouse gas was replaced with R134a, which breaks down much quicker.
R-1234yf takes that improvement to the next level, breaking down in less than half the time of R-134a (and a fraction of the time R-12 can take). R-134a will remain in use for some time and a licensed mechanic can still service R-134a air con systems, but new vehicles will likely use the new systems with R-1234yf. Some already are.
Irrespective of what type of refrigerant your car air conditioner uses, a car service workshop undertaking air conditioner service must have the right knowledge and equipment to handle these gases responsibly. You should always take your car to a mechanic with the skills and specialist equipment to undertake air conditioning service safely and correctly.