Wyden, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Rising Catalytic Converter Thefts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today joined Senate colleagues from both parties to introduce legislation that would combat the rise in catalytic converter thefts in Oregon and nationwide.

“The theft of catalytic converters has soared in Oregon and across the nation, costing working families and small business owners valuable time and money,” said Wyden. “This bill will bring us one step closer to solving this problem by strengthening local law enforcement’s ability to locate stolen car parts and address these thefts as a criminal offense.”

The Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts (PART) Act would ensure that law enforcement can more effectively address these thefts by marking each converter with a traceable identification number and establishing converter thefts as a criminal offense. Catalytic converters are required for compliance with federal emissions laws but are costly for car owners to replace once stolen.

Catalytic converters reduce the potency of toxic emissions from an internal combustion engine and are required for vehicle compliance with the Clean Air Act. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts rose by more than 325 percent from 2019 to 2020. Replacing these parts imposes significant financial costs to vehicle owners, often between $500 to $2,300 and can even result in a total loss to the vehicle.

The PART Act would: 

·       Require new vehicles to have a Vehicle Identification number (VIN) stamped onto the converter to allow law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the vehicle from which they originate.

·       Create a grant program through which entities can stamp VIN numbers onto catalytic converters of existing vehicles.

·       Improve record keeping standards for purchasers of used catalytic converters.

·       Establish enforceability of laws around catalytic converter theft by codifying these crimes as a criminal offense.

The legislation was led by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Alongside Wyden, the bill was cosponsored by U.S. Senators Mike Braun, R-Ind., and JD Vance, R-Ohio. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

The bill has received the endorsement of the National Automobile Dealers Association, the American Truck Dealers (ATD), the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA), the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), the National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP), NTEA — The Association for the Work Truck Industry, the NAFA Fleet Management Association, the Elite Catering and Event Professionals (ECEP),  and American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

The text of the bill is here.

A web version of this release is here.