Automotive parts retailers in Wisconsin will be able to begin selling refrigerant for motor vehicles in less-than-15-pound containers, thanks to AAIA-supported legislation (S.B. 370) that was signed by the governor on Monday, April 2. While sale of R-12 has been banned in the entire U.S. since the mid-1990s, the state of Wisconsin has been the only state that took the additional step of promulgating regulations that also prohibited the sale of R-134a in small containers.
AAIA, along with efforts from AAIA member IDQ, Inc., worked with Senator Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend and Representative Joe Knilans, R-Janesville, this year to obtain passage of S.B. 370 that would eliminate the regulation and thus permit retailers to sell small containers of refrigerant that are used by consumers to recharge their vehicle air conditioner.
"We are pleased that with the enactment of this law, Wisconsin car owners will once again have the choice on whether they have their vehicle serviced by a professional or to do the work themselves," said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. "We thank Senator Grothman, Assemblyman Knilans and Governor Scott Walker for their part in moving this pro-consumer and pro-aftermarket legislation to enactment."
R-134a was designated by car companies as the replacement refrigerant for R-12 since use of 134a would require a minimal change in vehicle air conditioning systems and it does not have an impact on the ozone. Initially, there was significant concern that car owners would attempt to add the R-134a into a vehicle that was using R-12, thus causing cross contamination and ruining the vehicle a/c system. However, the state legislature found in passing the bill that nearly 20 years since the transition to a new refrigerant, there is no longer a need to have this outdated regulation on the books.