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GM: New eco-friendly refrigerant on the way

General Motors says that it is developing a refrigerant alternative that will meet today's performance standards, but be easier on the environment.

General Motors has announced that beginning in 2013 it will begin utilizing a new refrigerant product in all of its vehicles in the U.S. in an effort to help reduce its impact on global warming, while promising to retain its current performance levels.

GM says that the current product, R-134a, is particularly harmful to the environment because it takes an average of 13 years to break down once released into the atmosphere. As a result, it is rated with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1,400.

The product that aims to replace R-134a, known as HFO-1234yf, will be supplied by Honeywell. GM says this new product breaks down faster than R-134a, lasting just 11 days in the atmosphere, and holding a GWP rating of just four - a 99.7 percent improvement.

Despite its major improvement in its ability to break down in the atmosphere, GM promises that it will retain the same cooling levels achieved from the more harmful R-134a refrigerant.