Gubbmint Introduces Bill to Curb Catalytic Converter Theft

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Hands up if you or someone you know has had a brush with catalytic converter theft. Packed with valuable metals, unsavory sorts have been helping themselves to this easily accessible part of a car’s exhaust system, often attacking it with a reciprocating saw and making away with the item in just a few seconds. Now, the government is (re)introducing a bill that may help curtail thefts.

Called the Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts Act (or the PART Act, aren’t they clever), the bi-partisan bill aims to reduce catalytic converter theft by requiring automakers to stamp a VIN or other identifying information onto the part’s surface. The hope is that thieves will think twice before stealing the converter if they know it can be traced back to a particular car, not to mention the supposed ease of identifying a car to which a converter belongs if a bunch of the things is recovered in a bust or chop shop raid.

As per usual, politicians bloviated at length about this initiative, with Congress member Jim Baird saying they “want to empower our law enforcement to hold these thieves accountable,” and Congress member Betty McCollum saying the proposed legislation is one way of “providing tools for investigators to link stolen catalytic converters to the vehicles from which they were stolen.” Fair enough, then.

Apparent loopholes or gaps in the existing criminal code language allegedly mean that cops must catch a criminal in the act of removing the part in order to prosecute a case. We’re not sure if VINs or other identifying information hammered into a catalytic converter will deter the most hardened of criminals, but averting even one theft can be construed as a win. Such a requirement will create more work for car companies, though they surely have existing procedures on which they can draw to pair individual VINs with converters as they arrive at a factory.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau says the number of reported catalytic converter thefts rose from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020. More recent numbers – with different bookends – from insurance company State Farm estimate the problem in an even harsher light, saying that between July 2021 and June 2022 catalytic converter theft more than doubled during that period when over 43,000 of these parts were reportedly taken.

[Image: fru-fru/Shutterstock]

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Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Mike Bradley Mike Bradley on Feb 23, 2023

    New California laws require recyclers to keep specific records on the parts they buy and sell, and require used catalytic converters to be sold only by authorized parties.

  • Frank Bennett Frank Bennett on Jun 14, 2023

    How about reimbursing victims with the $500M the Feds confiscated from the crooks that got caught selling the rare metals ? ~$3,000 to local police have a list or social media !!

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
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