A social media video that garnered nearly 50,000 viewers shows the harmful effects diesel engines can have on the environment.
In the 27-second video posted by Occupy Mars (@TESLA_winston) on X, formerly known as Twitter, a pickup truck is seen discharging large blasts of exhaust fumes multiple times “for 10 miles.”
This guy probably spent $20 in diesel to roll coal for 10 miles on Forth of July Pass. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/HIa1Cq115P— Occupy Mars (@TESLA_winston) August 4, 2023
The action is known as “coal rolling,” which occurs when diesel engines are modified to release large amounts of sooty smoke whenever the driver chooses. The most common modification is removing the filter that is meant to decrease contaminants in the exhaust.
The user posted the footage with a laughing emoji at the idea of the driver having “probably spent $20 in diesel to roll coal” to mildly annoy some Tesla drivers.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Agency told Autoblog.org in 2014 that coal rolling is not only a deliberately harmful act of pollution that can cause multiple health conditions, but it’s also illegal because it violates the Clean Air Act.
“Tampering with vehicle pollution controls is against the law,” the EPA spokesperson said. “Tailpipe pollution, uncontrolled by emissions reduction technology, contains high levels of soot and smog-forming chemicals, which are linked to premature death in people with heart or lung disease, aggravated asthma and other serious, negative health effects.”
The Department of Justice is currently suing eBay for what could reportedly be $2 billion in fines for selling tampered-with devices to allow for rolling coal. However, there is no specific law that prohibits coal rolling itself, and drivers have taken advantage of this. In most cases, coal rolling is done to send some sort of message, whether it be an act of anti-environmentalism or an attack on a specific group.
For example, a compilation video on YouTube shows drivers rolling coal on Black Lives Matter protesters and other liberal groups. In 2021, a viral video showed a pickup truck spewing fumes through an open door at a Texas hamburger joint in which teenagers were dining after a football game.
That same year, a 16-year-old boy in Texas was arrested and charged with six counts of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he attempted to roll coal on eight bicyclists but wound up hitting six of them and sending four to the hospital.
Some commenters under the video posted by Occupy Mars had also been the victims of coal rolling and empathized with the situation.
“I’ve had a couple trucks do that to me,” one user wrote. “Sometimes I pass them quickly or I just sit back and laugh.”
“I had a truck pull out in front of me and almost caused a two-lane pile up just so he could block me in my Tesla,” another explained. “Legit pulled out in front of moving traffic and just sat there for like 15 seconds … Some truck owners have some fragile egos.”
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