Regulators have agreed to harmonise technical standards in order to minimise leakages from the highly potent fluorinated greenhouse gases used in cars' mobile air conditioning systems (MACs).

EU and US regulators meeting at the Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) trade show in Saalfelden, Austria, announced on 20 February their intention to harmonise standards to minimise leakages from fluorinated gases used in cars' air conditioning systems.

The agreement was struck between the European Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the California Air Resources Board.

"On 31 January the EU agreed to phase out the emissions of refrigerant greenhouse gases from mobile air conditioning systems until 2017. Our intention to harmonise global standards to limit emissions is part of our commitment to the fight against climate change," said Günter Verheugen Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for enterprise and industry policy.

The new standard, called SAE-J-2763, is currently being developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and will apply to all new cars sold in Europe after 2008, the Commission said. It will determine leakage rates of HFC134a, a highly potent greenhouse gas that will be banned in Europe as of 2017 following an EU agreement on the heavily disputed fluorinated gas proposal.