Conventional pricing for R-22 refrigerant was stable for quite a while. Since it is an HCFC, or Class II refrigerant, it is not subject to the U.S. excise tax applicable to Class I CFC-11 and -12 refrigerants. This CFC tax was $5.35 per pound in 1995. There will be no new production after 1995.
The Environmental Protection Agency has stated, "Use of HCFCs as transitional refrigerants will allow the industry to move away from CFCs more rapidly and, therefore, will offer significant environmental and health benefits over the continued use of CFCs."
The CFC phase-out is putting new pressure on HCFC-22, and World output of this important refrigerant has risen.
As a result of the use of HCFC-22 as a "bridge" refrigerant to CFCs, its price has risen over the past several years. Under these conditions, prices may be expected to continue to rise to balance supply and demand; however, it is believed that R-22 will remain the most cost effective refrigerant for some years to come.