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The Polluting ‘Rolling Coal’ Trucks Purposefully Created to Anger Environmentalists

A group of ‘manly men’ from small-town America are performing outrageous acts to display their contempt for environmentalists. The rednecks, as they don’t seem to mind addressing themselves, blatantly refuse to accept that climate change and global warming are real. So they’re jacking up their diesel trucks to intentionally emit huge clouds of toxic smoke into the air.

Dubbed ‘Rolling Coal’, the polluting trend involves the reconfiguration of vehicles to produce higher amounts of diesel exhaust. These modified trucks force extra fuel into the engine and feature smoke stacks through which they release giant dark clouds of black smoke. Their goal is to spread the polluting fumes into the air, or at other cars, and they don’t seem to mind spending thousands of dollars to do it.

While these modifications aren’t exactly new, the trend appears to have gained more momentum in recent years. These truck enthusiasts have taken to the internet to openly express their dislike of hybrid vehicles and other environmental causes. A whole new subculture now exists online; they’re getting together by the thousands on social networking websites, sharing photos and videos of their latest exploits.

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They even have their own set of memes, like “Roll, roll, rollin’ coal, let the hybrid see. A big black cloud. Exhaust that’s loud. Watch the city boy flee,” and “You drive a Prius to save the environment? Allow me to sing you the song of MY people.” The ‘Rollin’ Coal’ community page on Facebook now has over 15,000 likes. More than 150,000 coal rolling-related posts have appeared on Instagram and Tumblr. As Google Trends suggests, there were no internet searches before 2011 for ‘rolling coal’, but now the search volume for the term has increased over 700 percent.

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“It’s just fun,” says Robbie, a 25-year-old mechanic from South Carolina who has been ‘rollin’ coal’ for the past 12 years. “Just driving and blowing smoke and having a good time.” The huge smoke clouds are apparently a matter of great pride for coal rollers and the ultimate way to show off their manhood. “Your truck is not just something to get you from point A to point B,” Robbie explained. “It’s who you are.” According to coal roller Ryan, “The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal.”

Rolling coal is also an easy way for these boys to express road rage. “If someone makes you mad, you can just roll coal, and it makes you feel better sometimes,” said Ryan. “The other day I did it to this kid who was driving a Mustang with his windows down, and it was awesome. I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.”

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And some of them do it because they don’t like President Obama, and therefore, hate his environment-friendly policies. “I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” said a coal rolling equipment seller from Wisconsin. “If he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my trick – that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clear air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Naturally, there is quite a bit of noise on the internet from the opponents of coal rolling as well. Last month, there was a sudden surge in the number of comments attacking the practice.In 2012, an enraged YouTuber had posted a video called ‘Victim of Coal Rolling’, which showed a pickup shooting black fumes at his car. Surprisingly, the video attracted several comments from supporters of the practice: “What a loser you are,” wrote one person. “Ain’t nothing wrong with rolling some confederate coal.”

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Coal rolling seems to have originated from a rural motorsport called Truck Pulls, where diesel pickups challenge each other to see who can pull a weighted sled the farthest. To have an edge over their competitors, drivers modify their tricks to dump excessive fuel into the motor, giving them more horsepower, torque, speed and a better chance of winning. The black smoke also appears to have won the hearts of country boys all over the nation. The trend stuck on, and kids today are willing to spend anywhere between $1,000 to $5,000 to add smoke stacks and smoke switches to their vehicles.

The American Cancer Society has warned that prolonged exposure to diesel exhaust could cause a variety of negative health effects, including lung cancer. According to the Clean Air Taskforce, diesel exhaust is one of the country’s greatest sources of toxic pollutants, leading to 21,000 premature deaths every year. But this kind of information is lost on the coal rollers, who remain steadfast in displaying their hate. “I’m not a scientist, but it couldn’t be too horrible,” said Robbie. “There are a lot of factories that are doing way worse than my truck.”

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While older truck enthusiasts prefer not to roll coal because it’s a waste of fuel, the younger ones are quite happy to overlook the expenditure and risks. In some cases, they continue to do it even though they are quite aware of the hazards involved. “It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” admitted 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.”

 

Sources: Vocativ, Business Insider

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