Gas Prices Are Up, But So Is Steel – 6/9/21



Heavy Metal Time! 🤘 

Let’s try to ignore the fact that gas prices have gone up over $1/gallon over the last year, and let’s pay closer attention to the steel prices almost doubling over that time. It’s funny because if you are a scrapper, while you don’t want to have expensive gas, you know that when some of the fuel prices are up for scrap, prices are generally up at the same time. Hopefully, this can offset the extra fuel costs, but we recommend not bragging about how you got more money for scrap to a non-scrapper who doesn’t have the same luxury you do.

Commodities have been moving in multiple directions over the last few weeks, which invites all types of talks about electric cars, supply chains, and future commodity expectations. Some market prices are predicted to go up in the next few months, especially with the iron markets. We are watching some of the infrastructure talks coming out of Washington, DC, so we can have our fingers closer to the pulse of what’s going to affect some of the markets in the second half of this year.

Quick Numbers

  • 400% increase – The cost of moving a container from China to Dubai has ballooned to $5,000 from $1,000 last year, a 400% increase according to SCMP.
  • 440 jetliners – About 440 large commercial jetliners were scrapped in 2020, a roughly 15% decline compared with 2019, according to aviation-analytics firm Cirium.
  • $1.02/gal – In the U.S., it now costs an average of $1.02 a gallon more to fill up a gas tank than a year ago, according to GasBuddy, which analyzes fuel prices.
  • 40% decrease – Since 2011, investments in developing the energy and mining sectors have fallen 40%.

Weekly Facebook Group Highlight

This week we wanted to highlight a post from Deborah in the Scrap Metal Recycling Talk group. Since June is National Safety Month, it’s a perfect time to talk about fires/accidents at the scrap yard. We asked Tom for his thoughts on the topic: “These are unfortunate accidents that happen, and hopefully no one got hurt in this. This shows that you should always have your material correctly prepared when you’re selling to the scrap yard. Remove batteries ahead of time. Ask the scrap yards how they want the fuel or if they want the fuel removed. How is oil disposed of? Does your scrap yard post that they are EPA compliant?”



Related: Scrap Metal Safety Tips

Featured Question

Question“Does anyone have any idea if TV tube and a tube tester for old TVs are worth anything?”

Tom: “Other than the copper yolk and a piece of copper degaussing wire that wraps around the tube, those old TVs have little value.” 

Non-Ferrous Market News

Little Movement from Copper

Copper has found a nice level of trading with the markets really stabilizing in one range over the last few weeks. While there have been a couple of times where the market had big drops in the last two or three weeks, we have seen those get erased, and we still have very strong prices.

One of the biggest things that we have been tracking is the movement of the infrastructure plan and the talks for electric vehicles. There’s a big pressing issue right now with electric vehicles because of the amount of energy that it takes to mine the ore out of the different mines; it makes it very difficult to justify that electric vehicles are truly better in the long term right now. One of the biggest things that we are looking for is how recycling operations will take the used batteries from things like cars, cell phones, and other electronics and repurpose them as reusable products in the future.

Reported Non-Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/2 – 6/8):




Fort Morgan, CO Copper Radiator Dirty $0.80 / lb
Rockaway, NJ #1 Bare Bright Copper Wire $4.00 / lb
Deerfield, FL Copper – Electric Motors $0.27 / lb
Marietta, GA Stainless $0.44 / lb
Seattle, WA Lead Clean $0.46 / lb
Philadelphia, PA X-Mas Lights $0.25 / lb
Rancho Cordova, CA Brass Shells $1.94 / lb
Peoria, IL Aluminum Rims  $0.35 / lb
Dallas, TX Old Sheet Aluminum $0.40 / lb
Brookhaven, MS #2 Copper Tubing  $2.40 / lb
North Little Rock, AR Aluminum Cans $0.50 / lb
Mississauga, Ontario* Electronics $0.09 / lb

Ferrous Market News

Rising Oil Prices 📈

With oil prices increasing, we have seen the price of steel continue to go up another $15/ton across most items. Going into June and July, we hear that the market could go up another $30-$40/ton, and that will encroach on multi-year pricing highs. 
With the price increasing and the possibility of multiple hundred billion dollar infrastructure plans going on, we could start to see the steel demand, like in general construction, continuing to increase dramatically. One of the biggest issues will be the supply chain and where the material will be flowing and getting recycled.

Reported Ferrous Scrap Prices (6/2 – 6/8):




Elmsford, NY Light Iron $6.35 / CW
Lancaster, PA Yard Cast $11.00 / CWT
Bremerton, WA Shred  $190 / ton
Columbus, OH Rotors $300 / GT
Bardstown, KY Automobiles  $225 / ton
Prince Frederick, MA Rotors $10 / CW
Milaca, MN #1 HMS $170 / ton
Cherokee, IA Scrap Iron $85 / ton
Salina, KA Shreddable Steel $140 / ton
Mount Airy, NC Scrap Iron $0.06 / lb 
St. Catharines, Ontario* Tin $320/ NT

Other Metal Markets

Car Batteries 🔋

Lead-acid batteries continue to have very weak demand, as we have not seen strong prices in well over a year and a half. These markets will be heavily affected moving forward because of the push for electric vehicles and the massive surplus of lead that could come; this will continue to keep the prices pushed much lower moving forward.

Catalytic Converter Market News



We have not seen a large change in the catalytic converter market other than the market staying nice and stable week-over-week. Stable is a nice thing, considering there are so many moving pieces across the board. We have seen strong demand for catalytic converters recently, and we expect to see this continuing throughout the rest of 2021.
One interesting tip when dealing with diesel catalytic converters or DPF units is that they do not contain any rhodium, so the rhodium price going up or down will not hurt these unit prices.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices This Week (6/2 – 6/8):

Cat Type/Serial Number


EA6 $460/@
GD3 $729/@
JSH62 $432/@
12606389 $424 /@
25130440 $317/@
Small Foreign $136/@
Regular Domestic $220/@


Thank You.

There is little to be upset about when you look at the overall picture for the scrap markets right now. They are strong across the board, and we are thrilled with where they are. Let us know what we can help you with, and we will get that info to you. 

– Tom

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