Catalytic converters can be removed and stolen in less than a minute. Replacement of stolen converters is covered by comprehensive insurance coverage for about 80% of drivers.
From 2021-2022, 32 states enacted laws to address catalytic converter theft
Because bills targeting catalytic converter theft have passed relatively recently, their impact on theft rates has not yet been well studied.
A catalytic converter is a device within the exhaust system of a car that converts environmentally hazardous emissions into less harmful ones. To do this, they use valuable metals such as palladium ($2,938/ oz), platinum ($1,128/ oz), or rhodium ($20,000/ oz; NICB n.d.).
Catalytic converters often lack distinctive identifying features such as a serial number or VIN information to track ownership (DOJ 2022). They can be removed and stolen in less than a minute and can sell on the black market for over $1,000 each. Recyclers typically pay from $50 to $250 for each catalytic converter (NICB n.d.).
A new catalytic converter costs from $1,000 to $4,000 (Bergal 2021). Replacement of stolen converters is covered by optional comprehensive insurance coverage after a driver pays their deductible, however drivers without comprehensive coverage must pay out of pocket (DOI n.d.).
Recent data on the number of catalytic converter thefts that occur in the U.S. is not publicly available. However,
From 2021-2022, 32 states enacted laws to address catalytic converter theft (NCSL 2023).
Because bills targeting catalytic converter theft have passed relatively recently, their impact on rates of theft has not yet been well studied.