Car air conditioning really isn't enviornmentally irresponsible.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1992

Dear Tom and Ray:

In your column some weeks ago, you recommended car air conditioning for everybody. I think this is irresponsible. If a person wants to go without A/C because of the freon/ozone problem, I think he or she has a good case. Furthermore, in some parts of the country, like Seattle or Vermont, the need for air conditioning is very infrequent.

TOM: I'm with you, Christian. It was my wacko brother who said everyone should have air conditioning. I didn't get air conditioning in my '63 Dodge Dart, and I've never regreted it!

RAY: That's because the optional air conditioning in those days was a 60 pound block of ice delivered daily to the passenger seat. He's nuts, Christian. Air conditioning is great, and to tell you the truth, it really isn't environmentally irresponsible.

TOM: That's because by law, all freon now has to be recycled. And starting this spring, repair shops that don't have the proper recycling equipment can't work on air conditioners any more.

RAY: And by the year 2,000, freon will be completely replaced by another refrigerant (which we may eventually discover causes hemhorroidal flare-ups or soap spots on glassware).

TOM: But between now and then, you do have a point, Christian. Freon still poses some threat. After all, it does occasionally leak. There will also be some unscruplous mechanics who will break the law and not recycle the stuff. And some junk?yards will just let freon escape rather than collecting it--like they're supposed to do--be?fore they crush old cars.

RAY: So if you live in a cool climate, and feel you don't need air conditioning (you may want to double-check this theory with the people who sit next to you at work), then by all means, don't get it.

TOM: But before you go out and change your lifestyle, remember that all this stuff about freon and ozone is merely a theory at this point. Some well-respected scientists believe that there is a connection between the two, but it hasn't been proven yet. I mean, we might discover a hundred years from now that freon was completely harmless, and that it was oat bran that was depleting the ozone layer!

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