Better Eco AC In GM Cars By 2013

Many people are aware that using air-conditioning at home sucks up a lot of electricity, contributing to greenhouse gases. Not as many know that the AC used in our vehicles also contributes to the problem via their refrigerants, HFC’s and CFC’s, which linger in the atmosphere for an average of thirteen years.

A new refrigerant for vehicles from Honeywell, called HFO-1234yf, cuts that decomposition time down to just eleven days–and General Motors has announced that they’ll be using this new, greenhouse gas-friendly form of air-conditioning in all 2013 Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models in the U.S. According to GM, this new refrigerant will keep vehicle interiors just as cool as today while reducing heat-trapping vehicle AC-associated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by more than 99 percent.

Honeywell Refrigerant

image via GM

Including this new form of AC in new models will also allow GM to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for improved environmental performance and reduced emissions. This new regulation mandates an overall 40 percent improvement in overall U.S. fleet average vehicle fuel economy by 2016, and the use of HFO-1234yf will help GM vehicles significantly exceed this target under the new EPA regulations.

“GM’s decision to adopt this new refrigerant is additional proof of our commitment to be on the forefront of green technologies that will keep our planet healthy for our children and grand-children,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety Policy, in a statement. “It’s not just about meeting regulatory requirements; it’s about environmental leadership and GM plans to lead in developing new technologies that will take the vehicle out of the environmental debate.”

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.