If you’re not familiar with the practice of “rolling coal,” here’s a little crash course.
Some drivers of dirty-fuel-powered vehicles make modifications to their engines that allow them to spew out clouds of black smoke at will.
When faced with an electric vehicle, a cyclist, a runner, or anyone else showing even the least bit of concern for their health and the environment, some drivers will intentionally release harmful pollution from their vehicle exhaust as a form of protest.
Since Teslas produce zero tailpipe pollution on the roads, some see the brand’s customers as being particularly planet-conscious, and that is likely why this Tesla driver was targeted.
That really is the long and short of it. Rolling coal is a way to intimidate people who are trying to avoid the use of polluting dirty fuel in their day-to-day lives. However, there can be consequences for doing so.
In Connecticut, for example, the state government has introduced a bill that prohibits motorists from emitting “dense smoke” from their vehicles, as well as the installation of any device that can do so.
“A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment up to 30 days, or both,” the government’s website details. But fines and punishments vary from state to state, with punishments of up to $5,000 possible in New Jersey.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency has declared rolling coal a violation of the Clean Air Act, noting that “tampering can cause a vehicle to emit hundreds to thousands of times more pollution than it otherwise would.”
Sellers of any devices that enable motorists to roll coal are also under a crackdown, with online marketplace eBay facing fines of up to $2 billion for allowing the sale of such items after the Justice Department filed a complaint in the Brooklyn federal court, according to CBS News.
“The fine can be substantial,” one Redditor observed when discussing sellers of rolling-coal kits.
Vehicles powered by internal combustion engines typically run on dirty fuel, which creates planet-warming pollution when burned. These harmful gases can trap heat in the atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures that can impact human health and encourage extreme weather conditions like drought, flooding, and deadly storms.
But rolling coal makes the environmental impact of such vehicles more pronounced, forcing the release of increased levels of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter that can lead to a decrease in air quality, cause or exacerbate respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, and increase the risk of cancer.
“Cars with emissions like that need to be seized and taken to the junkyard ASAP,” one Redditor said.
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