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How automotive air conditioning went from miraculous to mundane

It was at exactly this time of year in the late 1970s when my family embarked on our longest-ever road trip from our home in New York state to visit relatives in Louisiana. We drove our Plymouth Satellite station wagon, which had the sticky summer combination of vinyl seats and no A/C. The trip took us four days, because by late afternoon my mother and my sister would be complaining so much that we’d have to stop driving and search for a motel with air conditioning and a pool ...


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No mention of the refrigerant change (due to CFCs) that according to some sources has cost us 10 degrees of cooling in some vehicles. Ice cold AC in a 74 Monte Carlo... anything 90s plus I have been in not so much.


I get why the refrigerant change, just seems odd that no progress has been made on a next-gen refrigerant to get us colder again. Would be a selling feature I would think?