Why does it truly cost so much to fix your air conditioner in a Chevy Lumina?
Because regulatory "activist" agencies like the EPA and state DNR's have their hands in matters they know very little about. Federal and many state regulations require EPA certified and insured service on AC systems... and those costs are passed down to the consumer. The EPA says freon erodes the ozone layer. The ozone layer is in the stratosphere - miles above mother earth. Funny thing though... freon is heavier than air... it sinks. Don't take my word for it -> Open a can of freon, light a match, place it above the can - nothing happens. Place the match BELOW the can... it goes out. Peter principal strikes again! It's cheaper to obtain a pressure kit for your AC system. Then buy a can of AC system oil and a new enviro-friendly freon conversion kit. Use the pressure kit to purge the system of existing freon, then add system oil, then the new freon. You'll spend around $200 and have the equipment to service future vehicles. Far cry from $1000 for a single AC charge at the shop.