A Disturbing Trend: Coal Rollers



Will Hornick
07/10/2014

This morning, a colleague made me aware of a trend happening among owners of large pick-up trucks in the United States. The basic idea is that as a protest against the Obama administration's attempt at legislating via the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act, a number of pick-up truck owners have modified their vehicles to dump raw fuel into the engine and installed smoke stacks to bellow soot out into the atmosphere or into the fresh air vents of unsuspecting road-goers.

Of course, the partially combusted waste is unhealthy and very illegal but that does not seem to concern these drivers from 'rolling coal' as they call it. Some of the statements made by owners of these trucks are remarkable for how uninformed they are.

The act of spewing out soot onto drivers of compact and hybrid vehicles also has a certain irony to it. These anti-environmentalists are angry their personal right to pollute has been taken away (in actuality this is not a new thing in the U.S. as the Clean Air Act dates back to 1963 but was greatly expanded in 1990). As a protest, they are violating the rights of others who freely choose to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles. I imagine this kind of logic is lacking.

The above clip is one of many examples that can be found on Youtube of this trend.

I'm not sure what the overall environmental impact of this trend will be as hopefully it remains confined to a very small and misguided portion of the driving population.

Many states in the U.S. have yearly or bi-yearly inspections to ensure that vehicles comply with smog regulations. Nevertheless, it's nearly impossible to prevent people from installing high-flow injectors in between inspections without adjusting engine parameters to accomodate them. How should the car industry respond trends like these? How should legislators? How should the general public?

Will Hornick is the Managing Editor of Automotive IQ

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