The increasing value of the precious metals found inside catalytic converters is hiking up crime rates
Rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers are making headlines on a daily basis, forcing most car manufacturers to go electric. But while the internal combustion engine keeps chugging along, there are a few ways brands can manage car emissions, and one of the most popular is to fit catalytic converters to exhaust systems. Most gearheads recoil in disgust at the mere mention of a catalytic converter, as it stifles performance, but, as reported by The New York Times, these planet-saving devices are also being increasingly targeted by criminals for the precious metals they contain. With the cost of metals such as rhodium and platinum on the rise, your Honda Civic might be a local criminal's next target.
The average catalytic converter contains numerous precious metals, including palladium, rhodium, and platinum, and the massive jump in prices for these metals is driving a new wave of thefts across America. Five years ago palladium traded at around $500 per ounce, while 2021 is seeing prices between $2,500 and $3,000, and let's not forget rhodium, which currently trades at over $20,000 per ounce. These prices have naturally led to a few more catalytic converters going missing across the nation, with some car owners resorting to welding metal boxes around their converters to prevent theft.
Hybrid owners have been some of the hardest hit, as these types of vehicles make less use of their internal combustion engines, in turn conserving the amount of precious metals in the catalytic converter. Owners of cars such as the Toyota Prius have been warned of the threat, and businesses buying catalytic converters in California are now required to take a photo or video of anyone selling these items. With the increase in electric vehicles on our roads, this issue should soon be a thing of the past, but for now, it's hot property.