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California Drops Deposit for Vehicle AC Recharge. How Much Will You Save?



CARB announced Friday it will no longer require a $10 deposit for cans of air conditioning refrigerant used by do-it-yourselfers. (Shutterstock)
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Since 2010, the California Air Resources Board required drivers to pay deposits for canisters of refrigerant for those who wanted to recharge their car’s air conditioning by themselves.

But an update to its regulations removes that charge.

The CARB announced Friday it would no longer require the $10 deposit for cans of air conditioning refrigerant. Even though the $10 deposit would be returned when the cans were, studies showed a much lower return rate than expected.

Reporting data show $5.5 million in unclaimed deposits annually.

The state required the deposit to prevent leaks of unused hydrofluorocarbon-134a in the canisters. H134a is a short-lived climate pollutant.

“Good government requires innovation and urgency in addressing challenges with air quality and climate change, and also making adjustments to ensure implementation is successful and is meeting the needs of Californians,” said CARB chair Liane Randolph. “Today’s changes make our regulation more equitable and effective while continuing to drive our climate goals.”

CA Moves Toward Recycling Refrigerant

CARB staff worked with refrigerant manufacturers, consumers, and retailers to develop the rule change.

The $20 million in unclaimed funds will go toward refrigerant reclamation efforts.

Further emissions reductions can be achieved through the use of recycled refrigerant.

Beginning in 2025, 25% of refrigerants sold will have to be recycled. By 2027, California officials want 100% of refrigerant to be recycled.

Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at

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