Over the past few years I have done numerous posts concerning the true cost per pound of R-22, R-410A, and R-134a. Each one of these posts have had outstanding success including the one I just published only a few days ago. (Link is here.) Throughout these articles I have yet to mention the refrigerant that is slowly picking up traction in the automotive world, HFO 1234YF.
1234YF is designed as a replacement for the HFC R-134a. While 134a is still active and going in the United States it has already been phased out in the European Union and it is only a matter of time before 134a is phased out the US as well. The scheduled beginning stages of phasing out 134a is scheduled for 2020, or on 2021 model years. It is worth noting that this date may change with the election of Donald Trump and the nomination of Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Both of these guys are anti regulation and anti EPA. I could easily see them pushing out the 134a phase out date down the road.
Pricing on 1234YF
In my other articles I usually use the rule of thumb of going on Amazon and E-Bay to get a feel for the market price. There are usually multiple listings on both sites. These listings will allow you to gather an average price and base everything off of that. This method doesn’t work for 1234YF. For some reason I have found only one listing of 1234YF on E-Bay at $750.00. (This listing may go away in the future.)
No one else has taken the imitative to start selling 1234YF on Amazon or E-Bay. It very well could be that the sales just aren’t there yet but give it a few more years and I bet we’ll start seeing it pop up on these websites along with others.
With all of that being said instead of using Amazon and E-Bay I am going to use my source from Refrigerant Depot, Eric Sugarman. In my e-mail discussion with Eric the other day he informed me that he is charging $675.00 per ten pound cylinder of 1234YF. (Price goes down further if you buy multiple quantities.) He also informed me that the price has been fairly stable over the past few years, much unlike the 134a counterpart.
Alright so we’ve got two prices to work with here $745 on E-Bay and Refrigerant Depot’s $675. Let’s take a middle of the road number, $700, for our math example.
$700 / 10 pounds of refrigerant per cylinder = $70.00 per pound of HFO-1234YF
Each car is different on how many pounds of refrigerant they require. Some only require one pound and others upwards of eight to nine pounds. It is always best to check your owner’s manual or your dealership to see how much you need. In our example we’re going to call it three pounds of refrigerant to get a complete fill up of your vehicle.
3 pounds of refrigerant * $70.00 per pound = $210.00 for a complete fill up.
Remember, Mechanics Need Money Too
Ok, so we’ve got our numbers. If you are a do-it-yourselfer than you know how to take it from here. However, if you are taking your car into a shop to be worked on the thing that you need to remember is that $70.00 per pound is very nearly, or is, your mechanic’s cost. You are paying your mechanic or dealership for not only their labor but also for their expertize. Expect markup. Do NOT expect to pay $70.00 per pound. They deserve to be paid for their knowledge.
The goal of this article is two things:
- If you are a small business, or do-it-yourselfer, this gives you the average price of 1234YF and an option to purchase it at Refrigerant Depot.
- If you are having your car worked on at a dealership or a shop than this article gives you the knowledge to negotiate the price of your refrigerant down to a manageable markup. While you may not pay $70.00 per pound you will be able to recognize a gouge if they charge you $300 or $400 a pound.
What Cars are Using 1234YF Today?
As I said before 1234YF is still fairly new to the United States market. Each year the numbers of cars the US using this refrigerant is growing. While I couldn’t find a true up to date listing of every car that is using this refrigerant today I did find this article from last year listing some makes and models. (Source of list can be found here.)
- BMW i3 Electric
- Cadillac XTS
- Chevrolet Malibu, Spark EV, Trax
- Chrysler 200C, 200S, 300, 300C
- Citroën C4, Elysëe
- Dodge Challenger, Charger, Dart, Ram 1500
- Fiat 500
- Ford Transit
- Great Wall Motor Company Limited – Voleex C30
- Honda Fit EV
- Hyundai Santa Fe, i30
- Infinity Q50
- Jaguar F Type
- Jeep Cherokee, Renegade
- Kia Sorento, Optima, Carenz, Cee’d2
- Lexus GS450h
- Mazda CX-5
- Mitsubishi Mirage
- Opel Mokka
- Peugeot 301, 308
- Range Rover and Range Rover Sport
- Renault Zoe 3
- SAIC Motor Corporation Limited MG350/Rover 350
- Subaru BRZ, Forrester, Impreza, XV
- Tesla Model S
- Toyota Yaris HSD, Prius Plus, GT86
This list is eighteen months old and it is already large. Imagine what this list will be like in just a few more years. I found this quote from November of 2016 off of Chemours’ official website:
“The use of HFO-1234yf is growing exponentially; by the end of 2017 an estimated 50 million vehicles are expected to use it in their air conditioning systems.” – Chemours Website
Imagine that, fifty million cars. It’s coming folks.
In conclusion 1234YF is here to stay. I would like to say that the high price tag of $700 for a ten pound cylinder is going to come down but to be honest over the past few years the price has stayed consistent. The days of cheap refrigerant may be over as we transition away from HFCs and over to the new HFO class of refrigerants. The hope that is as HFOs become more and more popular that the price begins to fall.
Either way I hope this article was helpful to you and ended up saving you some money!
Thanks for reading,
Alec John Johnson