Every Monday, Paula Light, with her The Monday Peeve prompt, gives us an opportunity to vent or rant about something that pisses us off. My peeve today is about WTF is wrong with people.
I have an app on my iPhone called Nextdoor. It’s a community app where people connect with others in their surrounding neighborhoods to, as the site promises, “receive trusted information, give and get help, get things done, and build real-world connections with those nearby — neighbors, businesses, and public services.” This peeve is not about Nextdoor. It’s about something I’ve been seeing posted on Nextdoor more and more frequently: people who have had catalytic converters stolen from their vehicles.
A catalytic converter turns the toxic fumes from a car’s engine into less harmful exhaust. As part of the exhaust system on gas powered cars, hybrids, and trucks, catalytic converters play a key role in reducing air pollution from cars, which is why the EPA made it a requirement for all cars to have starting in 1975.
Note that fully electric vehicles, like my car, don’t have or need catalytic converters because EVs, by definition, have zero exhaust emissions. But catalytic converter thefts on gas powered vehicles have skyrocketed in the last few years.
Apparently there are three precious metals commonly used in catalytic converters — platinum, palladium, and rhodium — which sell for high prices on the black market, making them an appealing target for theft. In 2021, platinum sold for about $1,100 per ounce, and palladium sold for nearly $2,400 per ounce.
These precious metals are produced and mined in Russia and South Africa primarily. The war in Ukraine and general supply chain issues have created an exponential increase in the cost of those metals.
Some hybrid models, such as the Toyota Prius, are also targeted because their catalytic converters use higher amounts of rare earth metals to better handle hotter-than-normal exhaust. Also commercial vehicles that are higher off the ground, such as vans that transport people or that deliver our goods, are also targeted. The higher ground clearance allows thieves to more easily get underneath the car or truck to saw off the catalytic converter.
Once a person gets underneath a vehicle, the theft of a catalytic converter can happen quickly. It takes about 30 seconds. They cut the catalytic converter with a reciprocating saw, in front of it and in the rear of it and it just comes right off. Police say thieves can get from $100 to $150 for each converter.
And to make matters worse, because of the scarcity of the required metals and the aforementioned supply chain issues, it can take a long time to get a replacement catalytic converter after it’s been stolen and it’s expensive to replace.
But this seems to be the world we live in these days. This is craziness. WTF is wrong with people who feel it’s okay to do this to their fellow human beings.
And that’s my rant for today. And perhaps yet another reason to get an electric vehicle.