The European directive on mobile air conditioning systems (MACs) (Directive 2006/40/EC) aims at reducing emissions of HFC R134a from the air conditioning systems fitted to passenger cars.
In practical terms, the use of the gas that is currently used for filling MAC systems (HFC R134a) is not permitted for newly type-approved vehicles sold in the EU since January 2011, and all new vehicles sold from January 2017.
The EU has dictated that, instead, the impacted vehicles must use a refrigerant gas with Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 150 or less. The directive only applies to new vehicles. All vehicles currently using R134a will be able to continue to use that gas.
Initially, automotive companies indicated that they would install a new refrigerant gas HFO R1234yf. R1234yf has a GWP of just 4, 99.7% lower than R134a. There are a number of alternative gases, including natural refrigerant R744, that continue to be considered by automotive companies.
However due to exceptional circumstances and exclusively with respect to supply problems of HFO R1234yf, the European Commission delayed the regulaton to apply from January 2013.
At present the majority of newly constructed vehicles are able to use R134a as they were type approved prior to the new regulations. However the number of newly type-approved vehicles is increasing all the time, with the majority using HFO R1234yf.
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