Dirty Green Secret

Obviously, the primary reason people buy green cars is because it is good for the environment. What seems like environmentally conscious decision does have a significant draw back. A rising greenhouse gas, HFC 134a, is a liquid coolant and is used as a refrigerate in air conditioners. The coolant traps 1,400 times more heat than carbon dioxide over 100 years when it is leaked. Each carries about a hairspray sized container of this coolant. Currently, HFC 134a accounts for 1% of all greenhouse emissions. The European Union has already banned its use in all cars that are re-engineered or newly made. As of now, the US has no policy against the HFC, but the EPA is considering one.

In a response from demands from environmentalists, many of the gas powered brands, including the GMC giants, have already switched to a more environmentally friendly coolant by the name of HFO 1234yf. Of electric vehicles, two of the sixteen brands that are on the road have switched from the HFC 134a. The electric vehicle brands are reluctant to switch despite what experts say the benefits are for the climate. Yes, the companies want to have a truly green car, but the switch does have its drawbacks for the companies. The HFO 1234yf is pricy and in short supply. Chevy and Cadillac are already using the coolant while companies like Nissan and Tesla have not released any information on a potential switch.

The emissions are growing at a rate of ten to fifteen percent per year from HFCs. In a century, the average temperature is expected to rise .5 degrees Celsius as a result of these coolants. Though there is a larger demand for electric vehicles to make the switch, experts believe that switch will be easier if all types of cars make the switch as well.



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