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Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter Shortage Due To More States With Stricter Regulations

California has had the tightest emissions regulations in the country. Now with the surge of catalytic converter theft other states are starting to follow suit. Here is what that can mean for you if your catalytic converter is stolen.


Vehicles such as the Toyota Prius have been prime targets for catalytic converter theft. I have reported time and again on this issue.

I am warning people that you are not exempt from converter theft, and you need to get protected, but for more than one reason.

In California, to pass emissions testing, you must have an original equipment catalytic converter. Until now, California was the only state that required this strict regulation.

Now other states are following suit. That means if your converter gets stolen, you may have to shell out thousands of dollars to keep your Prius or other vehicles on the road. Here is what we know about this issue.

What Are The Costs Associated With Catalytic Converter Replacement?
This issue is hot because the cost to replace an OE (original equipment) catalytic converter is staggering.

To give you an idea, a 2004-2009 Toyota Prius can cost $3000 or more. Other makes and vehicles that I have heard of have cost over $8000 when the converter was stolen.

2014 Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter

The money out of your pocket and the downtime are enough to make me gag already. For some people who have this happen to them, the costs can cripple them financially.

Colorado Joins California In Strict Emissions Laws
If you live in the great state of Colorado, you are now subject to these regulations. That means if you think you can get away with an aftermarket catalytic converter for your Toyota Prius or other cars, think again.

This regulation means with the theft of catalytic converters in Colorado; there will be a more considerable shortage of OE cats for those who have had theirs stolen.

2007 Toyota Prius with aftermarket catalytic converter

California makes up about 45% of all converter theft, and Colorado makes up about 2. That number does not seem significant but give it time, and you will see how much of an impact this has on people who have to shell out the money to get their cars repaired or replaced.

California accounts for the majority of all OE converters sold in the United States. Now that Colorado wants to join in, it will only add to the complexity of the issue.

Having your catalytic converter stolen can total your car due to the cost of replacement.

In my opinion, we need to have emissions regulations in place. I like clean air. However, I believe that with all the increase in catalytic converter theft, these regulations will only hurt consumers more than helping them.

Suppose your converter on your Prius, Honda Element, or Toyota Tacoma (all hot targets) gets stolen. In that case, it can total your car according to insurance, or it may cripple you financially if you do not have full coverage insurance.

I encourage people to park their cars inside where they can. Get protective devices on your vehicle if available, and report any suspicious activity to the police as soon as possible. Get license plate numbers and vehicle descriptions.

Stay safe out there. I look forward to seeing you in the following article. See why the Toyota Prius is the worst car you can own.

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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.