When it comes to the automotive industry and the use of metals is more platinum or palladium used? The answer depends on when the question is posed, because these are both very similar in many respects and are used as a catalyst material in order to create a chemical reaction. Since they belong to the same group, they have a very high melting point that is around 4,000 degrees F, and they are both used in certain emissions components including catalytic converters. Increasing pollution control standards for automobiles and other vehicles has boosted the demand from this sector in recent years.
In 2003 more palladium was used, but in other years platinum saw a majority of the demand. Since either can be utilized for the same purpose automakers generally switch between them, depending on the current price. Retooling requires some time and some expenses, so the car manufacturers will not take this step if there is only a few dollars difference in price. Right now the difference is around $1,000 an ounce though, and that is substantial enough to make the industry take notice.
Even though both of the metals are suitable for emission control palladium does offer one advantage in this area. It has a higher tolerance to heat, and that allows it to be placed closer to the engine without reducing the effect. This may also help reduce emissions even further.
The percentage of each of these materials that is used can change from one year to the next. At times one may be preferable but then conditions change and the other suddenly seems like the more desirable option instead. In general palladium is the most common choice though, and it does offer a few benefits that can not be matched when another option is substituted instead. In the last few years there has been much more of this material used, and this is partly due to the pricing differences on the market but also because it is a superior choice in some ways as well.
The cost of each one is not only impacted by the automobile sector though, there may be high demand from other areas as well. As more investors discover these types of bullion they have started to buy up the available supply. That has helped to push the cost of both upwards, and created a situation that could cause a cycle of higher demand and then price increases on a regular basis.