Rolling coal

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

Rolling coal is the American 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 into the air.[1] It also may include the intentional removal of the particulate filter.[2] Practitioners often additionally modify their vehicles by installing smoke switches and smoke stacks. Modifications to a vehicle to enable rolling coal may cost from $200 to $5,000.[3][4]

Background[edit]

Rolling coal is a form of conspicuous air pollution, for entertainment or for protest.[3] 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 bicyclists, protesters, and pedestrians.[5][6][7][8] Practitioners cite "American freedom" and a stand against "rampant environmentalism" as reasons for coal rolling.[9][10]

Health risks associated with rolling coal include respiratory issues. The American Cancer Society has linked exposure to diesel exhaust to lung cancer.[1] A more actionable concern is road traffic safety violations, as the black smoke can impair visibility, increasing the risks of motor vehicle crashes;[11] and 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."[12] [13] The New York Times published an article on rolling coal in September 2016.[14]

State Law[edit]

State Legislative Action
State Bill Year Effective Notes
Colorado HB16-1319[15] 2016 N/A
Colorado HB17-1102[16] 2017 N/A
Colorado SB17-278[17] 2017 June 5, 2017[18]
Idaho SB1130[19] 2017 N/A[20]
Illinois HB3553[21] 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."[22]
Maryland HB848[23] 2016 N/A
Maryland HB11[24] 2017 October 1, 2017[25]
New Jersey SB2418[26] 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.[27]
New York S8201[28] 2016 N/A
New York S37[29] 2017 N/A
New York S38[30] 2019 N/A
Utah HB110[31] 2015 May 12, 2015
Utah HB171[32] 2018 N/A[33]
Utah HB139[34] 2019 N/A

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.[35]

Indiana[edit]

Vehicles must have equipment to prevent “escape of excessive fumes or smoke.”[36] A Reddit thread referenced the potential for issuing a citation based on creating a safety hazard by obscuring roadway visibility.[37]

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.[38]

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 ."[39] New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulations also prohibit “smoking vehicles,” and the department has a reporting hotline.[40]

North Carolina[edit]

In 2016, a question to the Western North Carolina Air Quality Director about “rolling coal” referenced state law.[41] Vehicles driven on a highway must have equipment to prevent “annoying smoke and smoke screens.”[42] During any mode of operation, diesel-powered vehicles cannot emit for longer than five consecutive seconds visible contaminants darker than a specific density.[43]

Texas[edit]

Requires vehicle adjustment to “prevent the escape of excessive smoke or fumes.” Except when required to “maintain reasonable momentum,” vehicles cannot emit visible smoke for 10 seconds or longer, or visible smoke that “remains suspended in the air for 10 seconds or longer before fully dissipating.” Fine for a first offense up to $350, and $200-$1,000 for subsequent offenses.[44] County sheriffs have enforced the law.[45] The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality maintains a website to report vehicles with Texas license plates that emit excessive smoke.

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.[46] 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.[47] An incident of coal rolling on a cyclist was captured on camera in August 2018 and referred to the Kane County attorney.[48]

County or municipal ordinances and reporting[edit]

Hudson, Colorado[49][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[50][51][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.[52]

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.[53] 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.[54] A first attempt in July 2016 failed,[55] but Cheyenne police had clarified at that time that they had been writing tickets for coal rolling under state law.[56]

See also[edit]

  • Phantom vehicle, a vehicle that causes an accident without contact then drives away
  • Wet stacking, a term for when diesel engines exhaust unburned fuel, whether unintentionally or as part of rolling coal

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Political Protest Or Just Blowing Smoke? Anti-Environmentalists Are Now 'Rolling Coal'". US Official News. July 8, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via InfoTrac. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  2. ^ Abel, David (July 28, 2014). "Rules have diesel enthusiasts fuming". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Dahl, Melissa (July 24, 2014). "Why Pickup Truck Drivers Are Paying $5,000 to Pollute More". New York. New York City. Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Kulze, Elizabeth (June 16, 2014). ""Rollin' Coal" Is Pollution Porn for Dudes With Pickup Trucks". Vocativ. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "Colbert Pokes Fun at 'Rolling Coal,' the Insecure Trucker Driver's Response to Environmentalists". EcoWatch. July 18, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "Rolling coal: Canadian diesel truck lovers insist they're not like U.S. counterparts". CTV News. July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  7. ^ Oberg, Jamie (July 18, 2014). "Police warn drivers against 'rolling coal'". KCTV. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Political Protest Or Just Blowing Smoke? Anti-Environmentalists Are Now 'Rolling Coal'". Huffington Post. July 6, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  9. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (September 4, 2016). "'Rolling Coal' in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  10. ^ "There's Nothing Wrong with Rolling Coal - VICE". Vice. Retrieved 2017-01-24.
  11. ^ Boyd, Shaun (April 4, 2016). "Lawmaker Wants To Stop 'Coal Rollers' From Intentionally Blasting Black Smoke". CBS Denver. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  12. ^ "Washington: 'Rolling Coal' by Anti-Environmentalists Dubbed Illegal by EPA". US Official News. July 9, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via InfoTrac. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)
  13. ^ US EPA, OECA (2013-05-03). "Air Enforcement". US EPA. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  14. ^ Tabuchi, Hiroko (2016-09-04). "'Rolling Coal' in Diesel Trucks, to Rebel and Provoke". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  15. ^ "Prohibit Coal Rolling In Diesel Vehicles | Colorado General Assembly". leg.colorado.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  16. ^ "Prohibit Nuisance Exhibition Motor Vehicle Exhaust | Colorado General Assembly". leg.colorado.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  17. ^ "Prohibit Nuisance Exhibition Motor Vehicle Exhaust | Colorado General Assembly". leg.colorado.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  18. ^ Tomasic, John (May 2, 2017). "Colorado to outlaw 'rolling coal' nuisance exhaust". The Colorado Statesman. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  19. ^ "SENATE BILL 1130 – Idaho State Legislature". Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  20. ^ "Senate kills anti-'coal rolling' bill on 16-18 vote | The Spokesman-Review". www.spokesman.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  21. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for HB3553". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  22. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (March 27, 2015). "Illinois bill would make 'rolling coal' illegal". Autoblog. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "GAM-HB0848 Summary 2016 Regular Session". mgaleg.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  24. ^ "GAM-HB0011 Summary 2017 Regular Session". mgaleg.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  25. ^ Shaver, Katherine (May 26, 2017). "No more 'rolling coal' on Maryland roads". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  26. ^ "S2418". www.njleg.state.nj.us. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  27. ^ Bruce, Chris (May 13, 2015). "Rolling coal now illegal in New Jersey". Autoblog. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  28. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S8201". NY State Senate. 2016-09-28. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  29. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S37". NY State Senate. 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  30. ^ "NY State Senate Bill S38". NY State Senate. 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  31. ^ "HB0110". le.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  32. ^ "HB0171". le.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  33. ^ "Lawmakers make vehicle-emissions tests more common in Utah, but penalties for 'rolling coal' are unchanged". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  34. ^ "HB0139". le.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  35. ^ "Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-314". advance.lexis.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  36. ^ "Indiana Code 2018 - Indiana General Assembly, 2019 Session". iga.in.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  37. ^ "r/Indiana - Is it illegal to roll coal? Any consequences for someone doing it?". reddit. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  38. ^ "GAM-Article - Transportation, Section 21-1131". mgaleg.maryland.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  39. ^ "N.J. Legislative Statutes". lis.njleg.state.nj.us. doi:10.1048/enu. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  40. ^ "NJDEP Diesel Inspection & Maintenance - Idling & Smoking Vehicles". www.nj.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  41. ^ "Answer Man: Is 'rolling coal' legal? School zone speeding?". Citizen Times. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  42. ^ "§ 20-128. Exhaust system and emissions control devices". www.ncleg.net. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  43. ^ "North Carolina General Statutes § 20-128.1 Control of visible emissions - Legal Research". law.onecle.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  44. ^ "TRANSPORTATION CODE CHAPTER 547. VEHICLE EQUIPMENT". statutes.capitol.texas.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  45. ^ Jonas, Louisa. "Sheriff's Office Steps Up Enforcement Of 'Rolling Coal'". www.tpr.org. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  46. ^ "Authority of division to suspend or revoke registration, certificate of title, license plate, or permit". le.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  47. ^ "41-6a-1626. Mufflers -- Prevention of noise, smoke, and fumes -- Air pollution control devices". le.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  48. ^ Bevilacqua, Matt (2018-08-29). "Caught on Camera: Truck Driver 'Rolls Coal' on Cyclist". Bicycling. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  49. ^ "Municode Library". library.municode.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  50. ^ "Overland Park Traffic Ordinance. Noise Prevention; Mufflers". online.encodeplus.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  51. ^ Department, Overland Park Police (2014-07-16). "The Overland Park Police Department: Blowing Smoke". The Overland Park Police Department. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  52. ^ "Utah DEQ: Programs: Mobile Sources: Smoking Vehicle". deq.utah.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  53. ^ "Nuisance exhibition of motor vehicle exhaust—Prohibited". library.municode.com. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  54. ^ Greenwald, Joy. "Cheyenne Council OKs Anti Rolling Coal Ordinance". KGAB AM 650. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  55. ^ Greenwald, Joy. "Cheyenne Council Defeats "Rolling Coal" Ordinance". KGAB AM 650. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  56. ^ Greenwald, Joy. "Cheyenne Police Still Ticketing 'Coal Rollers'". KGAB AM 650. Retrieved 2019-02-02.

External links[edit]