Much to the happiness of many Prius owners, the EPA has now declared coal rolling illegal. To those unfamiliar with the term "rolling coal," it's when a truck driver approaches close to another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian, and then purposely spews a huge cloud of black exhaust fumes at them. Coal rolling has become a growing trend and it is often done as a way of upsetting environmentalists. But as explained in a July 7 Talking Points Memo report, it is now against the law, according to an EPA official.
TPM staff spoke with Liz Purchia, the press secretary for the EPA, about the issue and Purchia told the site... "the short answer is this is illegal."
Purchia cited a couple of paragraphs on the air enforcement page of the EPA's website regarding the changes. The first paragraph read:
It is a violation of the [Clean Air Act] to manufacture, sell, or install a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device. For example, computer software that alters diesel fuel injection timing is a defeat device. Defeat devices, which are often sold to enhance engine performance, work by disabling a vehicle's emission controls, causing air pollution. As a result of EPA enforcement, some of the largest manufacturers of defeat devices have agreed to pay penalties and stop the sale of defeat devices.
The second paragraph said:
The CAA 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. A vehicle's emission control system is designed to limit emissions of harmful pollutants from vehicles or engines. EPA works with manufacturers to ensure that they design their components with tamper-proofing, addresses trade groups to educate mechanics about the importance of maintaining the emission control systems, and prosecutes cases where significant or imminent harm is occurring.
Ignoring steps car makers are taking in order for cars to be more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, a growing number of truck owners have been increasing the the injection pump on their diesel engines in order to send huge, billowing black clouds in the direction of bystanders, bikers, or hybrid vehicles.
As Newsweek points out, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr pages dedicated to this subculture are populated with photos of modified pickup trucks, often bearing “Prius Repellent” stickers on their rear windshield, with arrows pointing to the smoke stacks.
Many "coal rollers" are conservatives who detest President Barack Obama and EPA clean air regulations. Although the phenomenon is not new, it is becoming more popular among conservatives who want to protest the president and his efforts to clean up the environment.
“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” a smoke stack seller in Wisconsin told Slate’s Dave Weigel,. “If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that.”
“To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger,” he added. “You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”