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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year brings improved small containers for do-it-yourself automobile refrigerant

Self-sealing containers reduce emissions of potent greenhouse

SACRAMENTO: This New Year, California’s home-based mechanics
will see changes to small containers of R-134a, a compound used
to recharge automobile air-conditioning systems and a potent
greenhouse gas.

The new requirements, adopted by the Air Resources Board to
comply with AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of
2006, are expected to eliminate over 250,000 metric tons of
carbon-dioxide equivalents in 2020. The gas in these small
containers, R-134a, is 1,300 times more powerful than carbon
dioxide in trapping heat from the sun in the atmosphere, in turn
contributing to climate change.

“This is an excellent example of how regulations can be crafted
with full cooperation of the industry,” said ARB Chairman Mary D.
Nichols. “As a result, do-it-yourselfers will continue to have an
affordable product to recharge their car’s air conditioners but
with fewer emissions of potent greenhouse gases.”

The regulation, one of a series of so-called discrete early
action measures under AB 32 has four major components:

   * Better container technology: a self-sealing valve on all
small containers of automotive refrigerant sold in California to
prevent emissions of any product remaining in a used container;
   * Improved instructions for use;
   * A new industry-run container deposit and recycling program
to ensure the recovery of refrigerant remaining in a used can;
   * A manufacturer-developed education program so consumers
can use the best techniques for recharging an air conditioner.

Consumers of the do-it-yourself cans of automotive refrigerant
should begin to see cans on the shelf that meet the new
requirements as existing inventory is sold and restocked over the
next few months.

AB 32, California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, was
signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in September 2006 and
calls on California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to
1990 levels by 2020.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.

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