Rolling coal

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A Ford F-450 "rolling coal" (blowing large clouds of dark grey diesel smoke)

Rolling coal is the practice of modifying a diesel engine to increase the amount of fuel entering the engine in order to emit large amounts of black or grey sooty exhaust fumes, diesel fuel that has not undergone complete combustion, into the air. A predominantly North American phenomenon, rolling coal is sometimes used as a form of anti-environmentalism.[1] Such modifications may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter.[2] Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing smoke switches, large exhausts,[3] and smoke stacks. Modifications to a vehicle to enable rolling coal may cost from US$200 to US$5,000.[4][5]

Background[edit]

Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous air pollution, used for entertainment or as protest.[4] Some drivers intentionally trigger coal rolling in the presence of hybrid vehicles (when it is nicknamed "Prius repellent") to cause their drivers to lose sight of the road and inhale harmful air pollution. Coal rolling may also be directed at foreign vehicles, bicyclists, protesters, and pedestrians.[6][7][8][9] Practitioners cite "American freedom" and a stand against "rampant environmentalism" as reasons for coal rolling.[10][11]

A concern is road traffic safety violations, as the black smoke can impair visibility, increasing the risks of motor vehicle crashes,[12] and is a violation of clean air laws.

Legality[edit]

United States[edit]

In July 2014, the United States Environmental Protection Agency stated that the practice was illegal, as it violated the Clean Air Act which prohibits the manufacturing, sale, and installation "of a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device [and] prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer."[13][14][15]

State law[edit]

State legislative action
State Bill Year Effective Notes
Colorado HB16-1319[16] 2016 N/A
Colorado HB17-1102[17] 2017 N/A
Colorado SB17-278[18] 2017 June 5, 2017[19]
Connecticut HB-6975 [20] 2017 October 1, 2017 "Any person who violates the provisions of this subdivision shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both."
Connecticut HB-5871 [21] 2019 N/A “To prevent bias attacks which employ the practice of "rolling coal"... any person guilty of intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the fourth degree shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”
Idaho SB1130[22] 2017 N/A[23]
Illinois HB3553[24] 2015 N/A In March 2015, Illinois General Assembly representative Will Guzzardi published a bill proposing to impose a $5,000 fine on anyone who removes or alters their vehicle's EPA emissions equipment. Guzzardi has made it clear that "The fine would come on top of any penalties enforced by the current law that prohibits emissions tampering."[25]
Maryland HB848[26] 2016 N/A
Maryland HB11[27] 2017 October 1, 2017[28]
Massachusetts H.3097[29] 2019 N/A
New Jersey SB2418[30] 2014 May 4, 2015 In May 2015, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law prohibiting the retrofitting of diesel-powered vehicles to increase particulate emissions for the purpose of coal rolling. Those found in violation are subject to a fine by the state's Department of Environmental Protection. The bill was introduced by state Assemblyman Tim Eustace after a pickup truck blasted smoke at Eustace's Nissan Leaf while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike.[31]
New York S8201[32] 2016 N/A
New York S37[33] 2017 N/A
New York S38[34] 2019 N/A
Utah HB110[35] 2015 May 12, 2015
Utah HB171[36] 2018 N/A[37]
Utah HB139[38] 2019 N/A

California[edit]

California law prohibits operating a vehicle "in a manner resulting in the escape of excessive smoke, flame, gas, oil, or fuel residue".[39] The California Highway Patrol or local police can cite a vehicle under this section or others for rolling coal.[40]

Colorado[edit]

Prohibits nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust, which is the knowing release of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions from a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 14,000 pounds or less into the air and onto roadways, other motor vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians, in a manner that obstructs or obscures another person's view of the roadway, other users of the roadway, or a traffic control device or otherwise creates a hazard to a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.[41]

Connecticut[edit]

No person shall operate a motor vehicle in a manner that causes a visual exhibition of smoke that consists of the release of soot, smoke or other particulate emissions to the air and onto roadways, other motor vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians, with the intent to (A) cause a reasonable person to feel harassed, annoyed or alarmed, (B) obstruct or obscure any person's view of the roadway, other users of the roadway or a traffic control device, or (C) create a hazard to a motor vehicle operator, bicyclist or pedestrian.

Indiana[edit]

Vehicles can have equipment to prevent "escape of excessive fumes or smoke".[42] A Reddit thread referenced the potential for issuing a citation based on creating a safety hazard by obscuring roadway visibility.[43]

Maryland[edit]

A person may not knowingly or intentionally cause a diesel-powered motor vehicle to discharge clearly visible smoke, soot, or other exhaust emissions onto another person or motor vehicle. Exempts normal operations, large commercial vehicles, and construction site vehicles.[44]

Massachusetts[edit]

"No person operating a diesel-powered vehicle shall intentionally release significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air, onto roadways or other vehicles in a manner that obstructs or obscures another person's view of the roadway, other users of the roadway, or a traffic control device or otherwise creates a hazard to a driver."

New Jersey[edit]

Prohibitions relative to certain retrofitting of diesel-powered vehicles. No person shall retrofit any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment which enhances the vehicle's capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions, or shall purposely release significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air and onto roadways and other vehicles while operating the vehicle, colloquially referred to as "coal rolling."[45] New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulations also prohibit "smoking vehicles," and the department has a reporting hotline.[46]

North Carolina[edit]

In 2016, a question to the Western North Carolina Air Quality Director about "rolling coal" referenced state law.[47] Vehicles driven on a highway must have equipment to prevent "annoying smoke and smoke screens".[48] During any mode of operation, diesel-powered vehicles cannot emit for longer than five consecutive seconds visible contaminants darker than a specific density.[49]

Texas[edit]

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) decommissioned its state-wide smoking vehicle reporting program.[50] Reports on smoking vehicles can still be made through the North Central Texas Regional Smoking Vehicle Program in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which includes Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Erath, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, and Wise counties.[51]

Utah[edit]

Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend or revoke a vehicle's registration if notified by a local health department that the vehicle is unable to meet state or local air emissions standards.[52] Except during warmup or heavy tow, or for vehicles with a gross vehicle weight greater than 26,000 pounds, a diesel engine may not emit visible contaminants during operation if manufactured after 2007, or may not emit contaminants greater than a specific density if manufactured before 2008.[53] An incident of coal rolling on a cyclist was captured on camera in August 2018 and referred to the Kane County attorney.[54] In March 2020 cast members of the Utah-based Diesel Brothers reality television series, and the companies they own, were fined a total of $850,000 for Clean Air Act violations.[55]

County or municipal ordinances and reporting[edit]

Hudson, Colorado[56][edit]

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in a nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust, which is the knowing release of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions from a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of fourteen thousand (14,000) pounds or less into the air and onto roadways, other motor vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians, in a manner that obstructs or obscures another person's view of the roadway, other users of the roadways, or a traffic control device or otherwise creates a hazard to a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian. The ordinance, which was passed in September 2017, exempts several categories of vehicles, and provides for a fine up to $499.

Overland Park, Kansas[57][58][edit]

The engine and power mechanism of every motor vehicle shall be so equipped and adjusted as to prevent the escape of excessive fumes or smoke.

Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, Weber/Morgan Counties, Utah[edit]

These counties have "smoking vehicle" report forms online.[59]

Cheyenne, Wyoming[edit]

A person shall not engage in a nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust, which is the knowing release of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions from a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of fourteen thousand (14,000) pounds or less into the air and onto roadways, other motor vehicles, bicyclists, or pedestrians, in a manner that obstructs or obscures another person's view of the roadway, other users of the roadway, or a traffic control device, or otherwise creates a hazard to a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian.[60] The ordinance, which was passed in July 2017, exempts several categories of vehicles and provides for a fine of up to $750 and up to six months in jail.[61] A first attempt in July 2016 failed,[61] but Cheyenne police had clarified at that time that they had been writing tickets for coal rolling under state law.[61]

Canada[edit]

Provincial Law[edit]

Provincial Legislative Action
Province Bill Year Effective Notes
British Columbia M 232[62] 2017 N/A "This Bill would prohibit tampering with emissions control devices in motor vehicles after their sale."

British Columbia[edit]

"A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $5,000."

Ontario[edit]

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks prohibits tampering with the emissions systems of diesel vehicles in order to produce "visible emissions". Fines range from $305 to $1,000 CAD.[63]

See also[edit]

  • Truck nuts
  • Wet stacking, a term for when diesel engines exhaust unburned fuel, whether unintentionally or as part of rolling coal

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grenoble, Ryan (July 6, 2014). "Political Protest Or Just Blowing Smoke? Anti-Environmentalists Are Now 'Rolling Coal'". HuffPost.
  2. ^ Abel, David (July 28, 2014). "Rules have diesel enthusiasts fuming". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  3. ^ "How to Make Your Truck Roll Coal? 7 Easy Methods (Explained)". Trucksauthority.com. 2021-07-14. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  4. ^ a b Dahl, Melissa (July 24, 2014). "Why Pickup Truck Drivers Are Paying $5,000 to Pollute More". New York. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  5. ^ Kulze, Elizabeth (June 16, 2014). ""Rollin' Coal" Is Pollution Porn for Dudes With Pickup Trucks". Vocativ. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Colbert Pokes Fun at 'Rolling Coal,' the Insecure Trucker Driver's Response to Environmentalists". EcoWatch. July 18, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "Rolling coal: Canadian diesel truck lovers insist they're not like U.S. counterparts". CTV News. July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Oberg, Jamie (July 18, 2014). "Police warn drivers against 'rolling coal'". KCTV. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  9. ^ "Political Protest Or Just Blowing Smoke? Anti-Environmentalists Are Now 'Rolling Coal'". Huffington Post. July 6, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  10. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (September 4, 2016). "'Rolling Coal' in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  11. ^ "There's Nothing Wrong with Rolling Coal". Vice. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Boyd, Shaun (April 4, 2016). "Lawmaker Wants To Stop 'Coal Rollers' From Intentionally Blasting Black Smoke". CBS Denver. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  13. ^ McCauley, Lauren (July 8, 2014). "Washington: 'Rolling Coal' by Anti-Environmentalists Dubbed Illegal by EPA". Common Dreams.
  14. ^ "Air Enforcement". US EPA. May 3, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  15. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (September 4, 2016). "'Rolling Coal' in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  16. ^ "HB16-1319 Prohibit Coal Rolling In Diesel Vehicles". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "HB17-1102 Prohibit Nuisance Exhibition Motor Vehicle Exhaust". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved July 21, 2021.
  18. ^ "SB17-278 Prohibit Nuisance Exhibition Motor Vehicle Exhaust". Colorado General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Tomasic, John (May 2, 2017). "Colorado to outlaw 'rolling coal' nuisance exhaust". The Colorado Statesman. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  20. ^ "Substitute House Bill No. 6975 – An Act Prohibiting the Practice of "Rolling Coal"". Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  21. ^ "Proposed House Bill No. 5871 – An Act Concerning "Rolling Coal" As A Bias Crime."". Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  22. ^ "Senate Bill 1130 – Idaho State Legislature". Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  23. ^ "Senate kills anti-'coal rolling' bill on 16-18 vote". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  24. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB3553". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
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  26. ^ "GAM-HB0848 Summary 2016 Regular Session". Maryland General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  27. ^ "GAM-HB0011 Summary 2017 Regular Session". Maryland General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  28. ^ Shaver, Katherine (May 26, 2017). "No more 'rolling coal' on Maryland roads". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  29. ^ "Bill H.3097 An Act prohibiting the practice of coal rolling". Massachusetts Legislature. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  30. ^ "S2418". New Jersey Legislative Statutes. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  31. ^ Bruce, Chris (May 13, 2015). "Rolling coal now illegal in New Jersey". Autoblog. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  32. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S8201". New York State Senate. September 28, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  33. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S37". New York State Senate. December 28, 2016. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  34. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S38". New York State Senate. December 21, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  35. ^ "HB0110". Utah Legislature. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  36. ^ "HB0171". Utah Legislature. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
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  38. ^ "HB0139". Utah Legislature. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  39. ^ "California Vehicle Code division 12, chapter 5, article 2". California Legislative Information. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "On the road: 'Rolling coal' and Warren Road improvements". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  41. ^ "Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-314". Retrieved February 2, 2019 – via Lexis.
  42. ^ "Indiana Code 2018 - Indiana General Assembly, 2019 Session". Indiana General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  43. ^ "r/Indiana - Is it illegal to roll coal? Any consequences for someone doing it?". Reddit. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  44. ^ "GAM-Article - Transportation, Section 21-1131". Maryland General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  45. ^ "N.J. Legislative Statutes". New Jersey Legislative Statutes. doi:10.1048/Enu (inactive 31 May 2021). Retrieved February 2, 2019.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of May 2021 (link)
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  47. ^ "Answer Man: Is 'rolling coal' legal? School zone speeding?". Citizen Times. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  48. ^ "§ 20-128. Exhaust system and emissions control devices". North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  49. ^ "North Carolina General Statutes § 20-128.1 Control of visible emissions - Legal Research". Retrieved February 2, 2019 – via Onecle.
  50. ^ Texas state-wide smoking vehicle reporting program
  51. ^ North Central Texas Regional Smoking Vehicle Program
  52. ^ "Authority of division to suspend or revoke registration, certificate of title, license plate, or permit". Utah Legislature. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  53. ^ "41-6a-1626. Mufflers -- Prevention of noise, smoke, and fumes -- Air pollution control devices". Utah Legislature. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  54. ^ Bevilacqua, Matt (August 29, 2018). "Caught on Camera: Truck Driver 'Rolls Coal' on Cyclist". Bicycling. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  55. ^ Shenenfelt, Mark (2020-03-09). "Judge hits Diesel Brothers with $848,000 in penalties for air pollution violations". Standard-Examiner. Ogden, Utah. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  56. ^ "Municode Library". library.municode.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  57. ^ "Overland Park Traffic Ordinance. Noise Prevention; Mufflers". online.encodeplus.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  58. ^ Department, Overland Park Police (July 16, 2014). "The Overland Park Police Department: Blowing Smoke". The Overland Park Police Department. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  59. ^ "County Smoking Vehicle Reporting Program Contacts: Mobile Sources and Transportation Program". Utah Department of Environmental Quality. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  60. ^ "Nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust—Prohibited". library.municode.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  61. ^ a b c Greenwald, Joy. "Cheyenne Council OKs Anti Rolling Coal Ordinance". KGAB AM 650. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  62. ^ "BILL M 232 – 2017 MOTOR VEHICLE AMENDMENT ACT, 2017". claws.gov.bc.ca. Retrieved April 5, 2021.
  63. ^ https://www.wheels.ca/news/politics-power-and-the-grimy-art-of-coal-rolling/ Politics, power and the grimy art of ‘coal rolling’AUGUST 12, 2014 wheels.ca

External links[edit]