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Businesses and utilities that rely on carbon-fueled plants aren’t the only ones bothered by U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts to clean up the nation’s air. Individuals are getting in on the opposition movement by modifying their diesel trucks to belch noxious smoke in protest.
The practice is known as “rollin’ coal.” It involves installing a modification to a truck with a kit costing up to $5,000 that feeds excess diesel fuel to the engine, causing it to burn inefficiently and emit dense black clouds of exhaust, according to Vocative.
Put the truck in neutral, rev the engine, and – whoosh! – you’ve just smoked a tree-hugger.
“Rollin’ coal” began with the rural motor sport known as the truck pull, in which diesel pickups vie to see which can pull a weighted sled the farthest. Some competitors began modifying their vehicles to feed more diesel fuel, which not only creates the visually satisfying cloud of soot, but also gives the vehicles more horsepower, torque and speed.
Speed and torque aside, though, it’s now the dense soot that attracts coal rollers. In their online posts and videos and in the decals on the trucks themselves, they call the cloud “Prius repellent,” referring to Toyota’s electric Prius car. But the exhaust also envelops every bystander or animal within range.
The ob-noxious exhaust protest seems not just aimed at Obama’s environmental policies, but the man himself.
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“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” an anonymous man from Wisconsin who sells diesel modification kits told Slate's David Weigel. “ ‘If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not.’ I hear a lot of that.”
Even the most avid coal roller understands the downside of this form of protest. “It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” said a South Carolina coal roller who identified himself only as Ryan. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck, but everything else about it is pretty good.”
Not to Mark Williams, who posted his disapproval of rollin’ coal on the website PickupTrucks.com. “[T]produce this type of smoke dump is stupid and, ultimately, bad for air quality. And it certainly doesn't help anti-environmentalists make their point.”
Many people who commented on his post agreed, with one named “Ty” writing, “There is no cure for stupid.”
By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com
Andy Tully is a veteran news reporter who is now the news editor for Oilprice.com