Why are California catalytic converters 3x the price of the same model elsewhere in the lower 48?


Tagged in Econ but not really sure it fits here either. Thanks all.

In: 34

CARB mandated warranties are to blame for the inflated prices.

A CARB-compliant catalytic converter is one that has been approved for sale by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). CARB emission standards for aftermarket catalytic converters are more elaborate than the EPA standards for aftermarket catalytic converters and requires a more extensive warranty than the EPA.

As a result, CARB-compliant catalytic converters typically use an enhanced combination of washcoat technology and higher precious metal load to meet the stricter emissions conversions standard. A CARB-compliant converter will also have an Executive Order (EO) number/stamp on its body. The stamped number on the converter body must match the correct EO number listed on the California Air Resources Board website for aftermarket catalytic converters.

California has stricter pollutant air emission levels than other states. Catalytic converters work by passing car exhaust over precious metals which causes them to react and degrade into less harmful gasses. The amounts of pollution gases that get emitted is therefore dependent on how well the catalytic converter works. The easiest way to make a catalytic converter work better in a car is to increase the amount of precious metals, which increases the amount of surface area between the metals and gasses, which therefore makes the conversion/reaction have a better chance of happening as the exhaust is exiting the car. So in short, you need more metal to make the reaction more probable to occur and that extra metal costs a lot of money.