As you know, the cost for R410a has been changed a lot, there are two main reasons for the recent increases. The first is due to the current worldwide shortage of R125. As R125 is one of the two component refrigerants of R410a (the other is R32), any shortage of this gas significantly affects the production and consequently the price of R410a. And, since R125 is a component refrigerant of all alternative refrigerants for R22, there is further pressure on the supply of R125 as their use continues to increase significantly.
The second factor affecting R410a is a result of the American HFC Coalition’s successful petitioning of the U. S. Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission to enact tariffs (duties) on key blends of HFC refrigerants (Hydrofluorocarbons) imported from China. Last June tariffs were enacted on certain Chinese imported blended refrigerants at rates of 101.82% to 216.37% of the current cost of affected refrigerants at that time. Those suppliers importing these blended refrigerants from China are now paying those tariffs, thus raising the pricing on Chinese imported R410a. Domestic producers, whose price on domestically produced refrigerants was being held down by Chinese imported refrigerants, are now raising their prices to more accurately reflect true market pricing. One of the refrigerants increasing in cost because of this is, as you might have guessed by now, R410a.
Those two factors are what is causing the recent increase in cost of R410a. The bigger question is where does pricing go from here? The most likely answer is that R410a will continue to increase in cost throughout the summer. In addition, look for alternative refrigerants for R22 to also rise, all driven by the same two factors affecting R410a. By fall, the shortages of R125 may be somewhat alleviated as demand for refrigerant in the summer wanes with the cooler weather. This could result in lower pricing, but now it is far from being certain.
The best advice at this point is to find a refrigerant supplier who keeps you informed of refrigerant prices on a regular basis, and pay attention to what that supplier is telling you. In the long run, a knowledgeable supplier of refrigerant can help save you money by making you aware of coming changes before they occur.