New air gas refrigerant: complex and potentially costly issue08 December 2016

Fleet managers could face a fourfold increase in the cost of re-gassing van air conditioning systems, with the introduction of new regulations from 1 January 2017.

Supply chain management business Fleet Assist is reminding van fleets that the EU regulatory changes mean next month sees the introduction of a new air gas refrigerant known as R1234yf – said to be more environmentally friendly than its predecessor, known as R134a.

However, says Fleet Assist, many garages and dealerships do not yet have the necessary new servicing equipment, and it warns that potential re-gas costs could rise from £40-£75 to between £150 and £300, depending on the vehicle.

All cars and light vans registered from 1 January 2017 must use the new refrigerant – however, manufacturers can apply for a 12-month grace period, allow them to register ‘stock’ vehicles.

The reality, therefore, is that the new regulations won’t be fully in force until 1 January 2018 – making this a “hugely complex issue”, according to Fleet Assist.

Fleet Assist contacted all vehicle manufacturers asking how much a re-gas would cost by make and model and the volume of gas held by each car and van. Manufacturers were also requested to supply information of models in their ranges currently using the new gas, R1234yf, and when it was introduced.

Some have used the new gas, R1234yf, since 2012; some have introduced it gradually since then in various models; and others are not planning to use the new gas at all until January 2017 production.

Mike Smith, Fleet Assist’s joint MD, says the result is lack of clarity. “It is a hugely complex issue that will inevitably change as the industry progresses through the implementation of the new regulations. Some manufacturers were able to provide Fleet Assist with quite detailed information, while others were a little less clear on what was happening within their model ranges.”

Laura Cork

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Fleet Assist

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