About 30 years ago one could purchase R12 refrigerant for the amazingly low price of a dollar a pound (before the 12 oz. container days). I'd seen those twelve ounce cans available for as little as 79 cents and R22 was exceptionally cheap as well. Of course, we all know full well what has happened since then. The question, however, remains was it demand or speculation ;-)
Seriously, since we now have been educated by environmental scientists to know the harmful effects of freon to our spherical home, is the supply of R12 knowingly regulated? I believe that it is in the interim to allow for an artificially high pricing mechanism to support blended refrigerants, which might not be able to carry their own pricing weight if the gold standard (R12) had been more rapidly removed from the market. History has shown that R12 can be made very cheaply. It is not a petroleum based product. The most expensive component in its manufacture is fluorine, which can be least expensively derived from the electrolysis of potassium fluoride and/or hydrogen fluoride. It was patented way back in 1928, long before the day of modern rocket science.It's not much more complicated than boot polish or bottled chlorine bleach.
So I'm almost forced to believe that its pricing is governed by its manufacturers whose political connections have allowed it to be highly regulated, forcing a high demand to become highly depressed because of artificially hyperinflated pricing. This, of course, forces the demand for cheaper substitutes, which allows companies such as Dupont to expand its product universe to manufacture and profit from blends of questionable necessity for prices that oil company execs only might not salivate over.That is not to say, however, that blends are universally bad. Dupont Puron (R410) is more efficient than R22, but at an unjustifiably higher price.Its efficiency is largely inherent to its much higher run pressure, increasing the chance for expensive leaks. Higher system costs and greater repair bills are not a small price to pay for cheaper energy requirements, but once again, we're given a number of years to get used to the idea.
If Freon could be discovered the best part of a century ago, it seems reasonable that modern chemists could discover another unblended refrigerant with favorable characteristics to R12. Blended refrigerants remind me of the 1970's when planned obsolescence began the decline of the American automaking industry.We're being held hostage to an enormously greedy industry which audaciously tells us that they have only our best interests in mind.