The catalytic converter is a good example of engineering our way to cleaner cars. What am I saying? It may be the single, shinning, GREAT example of green car technology. That little thing that fits in your exhaust pipe has kept pollution out of the air since its introduction in 1975. Heck, in the process of keeping the air clean, it has probably saved countless lives. You hear arguments between government and car companies about things like CAFE all the time. No arguments about the catalytic converter (today, anyway). Everyone is ready to take credit for that one and wish they could repeat it. I say it's time we talk about banning it.

Actually, this is largely a thought experiment and I am not really ready to call for a ban on the catalytic converter. Let's see what it would take for someone to consider a ban. There are criticisms of the catalytic converter mostly about its production which you can see in the video above. Catalytic converters use the rare metal platinum which takes half a year to refine, a process that includes digging miles of tunnels, transport of materials and chemical processing.

You probably could never make a fair comparison about which is worse (mining or exhaust pollution) because the comparison would always be apples and oranges. Even if you felt stronger about the destruction of land through mining than air pollution, you still have to consider the mine is very far away from where a lot of drivers live. Also, we can develop cleaner mining methods or repair a mining site because a single location is controlled easier than millions of cars. What if mining was only getting dirtier and could not be controlled? What would it take for you to consider a ban on the catalytic converter? Sound off in comments.


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