Hydrocarbons (HCs) are excellent refrigerants in many ways such as energy efficiency, critical point, solubility, transport and heat transfer properties, but they are also flammable, which causes the need for changes in standards, production and product. There are increasing number of scientists and engineers who believe that an alternative solution, which has been overlooked, may be provided by using HCs. The main objective of this study is to perform energy and exergy analyses for a vapor compression refrigeration system with an internal heat exchanger using a HC, isobutene (R600a). For a refrigeration capacity of I kW and cold chamber temperature of 0 degrees C, energy and exergy balances are taken into account to determine the performance of the refrigeration system. Energy and exergy fluxes are determined, and irreversibility rates are calculated for every component of the system. It is seen that the compressor has the highest irreversibility rate, and the heat exchanger has the lowest. Also from the result of the analysis, it is found that condenser and evaporator temperatures have strong effects on energetic and exergetic performances of the system such as coefficient of performance (COP), efficiency ratio (tau), exergetic efficiency (xi) and irreversibility rate. Copyright (c) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.