Generally R134a is so expensive because of increasing demand, limited supply, government regulations, rising prices of raw materials (hydrofluoric acid and trichloroethylene) etc.
But surprisingly there are several alternatives which somewhat perform better than R134a. Here a question might arise: which one should I choose instead of R134a? To get all of these answers, continue reading this article.
How much does R134a cost?
Basically it is quite hard to tell the exact price of this R134a. Because it varies depending on the size of the container, brand, retailer and time.
Generally it often happens that the price you see today has gone up tomorrow. However, to give you an idea the price list of R134a in 2023 is given below.
|$120 – $125
|$50 – $60
|$170 – $175
|$85 – $100
|$100 – $110
|$90 – $100
|$110 – $120
|$100 – $120
Why Is R134a So Expensive? ( Reasons Behind It )
R134a, which is also known as Tetrafluoroethane (CF3CH2F), is a widely used refrigerant in various applications.
This includes: automotive air conditioning systems and domestic refrigeration.
But because of several reasons recently it’s price significantly increased. Here are those reasons in details:
The first and foremost reason why R134a is so expensive is its high demand.
Basically the global automotive industry has been growing rapidly, and this has led to an increased demand for R134a.
Additionally refrigerants like R-12 are being phased out because of their ozone depleting properties.
And because of this R134a’s demand increased significantly which makes it more expensive.
In recent years (2022-2023) R134a’s demand increased to such an extent that its production companies are not able to meet the proper demand.
Research shows that, in 2019 the global refrigerant market size was valued at USD 15.4 billion.
And from 2020 to 2025, it’s expected to grow by 4.6%. As a result there is often a shortage of R134a in the market and because of this its price increases at an abnormal rate.
Increased Raw Material Costs
The production of R134a requires several raw materials. This includes chloroform, hydrogen fluoride, hydrofluoric acid and trichloroethylene.
Because of the market dynamics, geopolitical changes and supply chain disruptions, the prices of these raw materials fluctuate.
Also the production of R134a requires a significant amount of energy, and the cost of energy has been increasing in recent years. As a result R134a becomes expensive.
Though R134a is more environmentally friendly than CFC, it still contributes to global warming.
Due to these reasons R134a is restricted by a number of government and environmental regulations.
Due to this a small number of companies are producing and distributing R134a refrigerant. Which makes it more expensive.
Supply Chain Disruptions
The COVID 19 pandemic situation and other geopolitical events significantly disrupted global supply chains.
In addition to production delays and transportation bottlenecks, increased logistics costs also affected R134a’s availability and price.
Is Buying An Expensive R134a Worth It?
According to several experts’ opinions on different platforms, and its bad effect on climate, you should not buy R134A.
Basically R134a was developed in the 1980s as a replacement for CFCs, but it’s also a greenhouse gas and its use contributes to climate change.
Here are some reason in details you should not buy expensive R134A:
The main reason to avoid expensive R134a is because you can easily find cheaper alternatives like HFC-32, HFC-152a, and CO2.
Though these are not without their own drawbacks, they typically offer a significant improvement over R134a in terms of their impact on the environment.
Though R134A has significantly lower environmental impact than other refrigerants like: ODCs , it’s a one kind of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1430.
Besides, R134a can contribute to air and water pollution, particularly in areas where it’s released in large quantities.
Basically because of several regulations and technological advancements, refrigeration and air conditioning industries are developing new and less harmful refrigerants. Here some countries already banned the use of R134a in new vehicles.
Believe it or not, sooner or later the R134a will be obsolete in the future. So investing in an expensive R134a may not be a wise decision for the long run.
3 Affordable Alternatives To R134a Refrigerants
In the past few years, environmental sustainability has prompted major changes across several industries.
A great example is the cooling and refrigeration sector, where HFC refrigerants: like R134a, have been under scrutiny due to their environmental impact.
Also, in 2006, the European Union (EU) introduced a directive known as 2006/40/EC.
Here in Phase 3 (2017-present) they mentioned that vehicles using a refrigerant with a GWP higher than 150 would be banned.
So it’s time to find R134a’s alternatives. Here we mentioned 3 best alternatives to R134a.
R1234yf is a hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerant which is often considered the best alternative to R134a. Generally it has global warming potential (GWP) of 4, where the R134a has a GWP of 1430.
This means that R1234yf has almost no bad impact on global warming. Besides, it can cool cars more efficiently than R134a which can lead to lower fuel consumption and emissions.
When compared to R134a, R152a has an excellent volumetric cooling capacity (about -5%), good pressure levels (about -10%), and great energy efficiency.
Moreover R152a has a GWP of 124, while R134a has 1430 meaning R152a affects the climate about 11 times less than R134a.
Also R152a is more energy efficient than R134a. But R152a is typically more expensive than R134a and it’s not as widely available as R134a.
R744 also known as carbon dioxide which is a natural refrigerant and recently it’s gaining popularity as a replacement for R134a. Surprisingly it has a GWP of 1 which means it doesn’t badly affect the climate.
Besides, R744 can run at higher pressures than R134a, which allows more efficient refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
Though the initial cost of R-744 is high, as more automakers adopt it especially on electric vehicles it’s price will come down.
While we have covered most of it in this article, there may still be some questions in your mind that have not been answered. You can find answers to some of these questions in this FAQ section.
Who Is The Manufacturer Of R134a?
R134a is manufactured by a variety of companies. These include: Honeywell, Arkema, Chemours, Coolib, Kalton etc. Basically these companies are among the leading manufacturers of R134a. So while buying make sure to buy these companies refrigerants.
Are There Any Better Refrigerants Than R134a?
Yes. There are several refrigerants like R1234yf, R152A, and R744 (carbon dioxide) that are considered better alternatives to R134a. These refrigerants have lower global warming potentials (GWPs) than R134a. This means that they are less harmful to the environment.
Is R134a Flammable?
No. R134a is not flammable under normal conditions. Basically it’s classified as a non flammable refrigerant. But if it is exposed to a strong ignition source and mixed with air under pressure, it can become combustible.
Finally remember that climate change is a serious threat to our planet and our way of life. It is basically caused by the release of greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide and methane) into the atmosphere.
Here several refrigerants (CFC-R12, HFC-134a, HFC-R23 etc.) can contribute to climate change.
But by avoiding them we can reduce our carbon footprint, safeguard the environment and mitigate the effects of climate change.