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Catalytic Converters

Last year, Denver City Council unanimously passed on final reading a bill intended to work in conjunction with state legislation targeting catalytic converter theft.

Anytime someone sells a catalytic converter to a scrap yard or an auto parts shop in Denver, the shop owner must now provide the city with the seller’s identification — including a car license plate and ID — within one business day.

A catalytic converter is the exhaust emission control device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic emissions. It is a part of your car’s exhaust system that converts harmful engine-exhaust pollutants into something less harmful to the environment through chemical reactions. Most hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides convert into the “less bad” carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor. 

Automobile models manufactured after 1975 are required to be equipped with catalytic converters to comply with the EPA.

Although catalytic converters are most commonly applied to exhaust systems in automobiles, they are also used on:

  • Electrical generators
  • Forklifts
  • Mining equipment
  • Trucks
  • Buses
  • Locomotives
  • Motorcycles
  • And wood stoves.

Recycling a catalytic converter can net between $800 to $1200. Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can run several thousand dollars.

Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in catalytic converter theft, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. In 2019, there were 3,389 claims filed for catalytic converter theft. In 2020, that number increased to 14,433 — a 325% increase in a year.