Release 09-07
January 22, 2009

    Stanley Young
(916) 956-9409

ARB adopts regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from do-it-yourself cans of automobile refrigerant
Deposit and recycling program to prevent equivalent of 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering atmosphere

SACRAMENTO—The Air Resources Board today adopted a regulation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of cans of refrigerants by do-it-yourselfers to recharge the air-conditioning systems of cars.

“This regulation is an outstanding example of how engaging stakeholders and the public in an open and transparent process resulted in an improved regulation with a much lower cost for do-it-yourselfers, and for the greenhouse gas reduction program overall,” said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. 

The regulation includes a deposit and recycling program patterned after a recent and successful pilot program by industry in Southern California. It will cost an estimated $11 for each ton of greenhouse gases prevented from entering the atmosphere. The original 2007 proposal to ban the do-it-yourself cans outright carried an estimated cost of $159 per ton.  

The automotive refrigerant currently in wide use, HFC-134a, is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming impact 1,300 times greater than carbon dioxide. A single 12-ounce small can of this refrigerant is equivalent to 1,000 pounds of CO2 or the emissions from an automobile burning 50 gallons of gasoline.

The regulation, one of a series of so-called discrete early action measures under AB 32, California’s landmark climate change legislation, has four major components:
The proposed regulation is estimated to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions of over 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per year in 2020, and will add about $1 to the purchase price of a can. 

ARB staff has worked since October 2007 on this regulation with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including the affected industry. It also received input during a series of public workshops and workgroup meetings to develop a proposal that achieves emission reductions in the most cost-effective manner possible.  

This regulation marks an important step forward in the state’s effort to control and reduce emissions from powerful chemicals and coolants that contribute greatly to global warming,” added Nichols. “It is also California’s first enforceable action to directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, helping to establish a complementary national approach to address the wide range of emissions from cars that directly contribute to global warming.”

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.

The energy challenge facing California is real. Every Californian needs to take immediate action to reduce energy consumption. For a list of simple ways you can reduce demand and cut your energy cost, see our web site at