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January 13, 2017   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Rolling Clean Across the Country

We would hope that truck enthusiasts would respect American technological innovation and ingenuity and simply Roll Clean.

On behalf of the clean diesel industry, we would like to tell “Coal Rollers” to just roll clean! In fact, a growing number of legislators across the country have taken notice of the practice and have introduced legislation to stop it. By ending the practice, the owners of larger pickups can have the power and performance they are looking for WITHOUT causing unnecessary emissions for those on the road.

For those of you unaware of the practice of “Coal Rolling”, it refers to activities on the part of a small portion of diesel work truck enthusiasts that modify emission controls or other features of the truck for the sole purpose of generating excessive soot emissions. The next time you are on the road and you see a large smoke stack extending from the bed of a large pickup, that is probable a Coal Roller. With the flip of a switch, those motorists, pedestrians and cyclists down wind of the product of their activities are covered in soot.

“Coal Rollers” that extract some enjoyment of the practice are doing themselves no favors. First, tampering with emissions controls for the purpose of generating excessive emission is a violation of the Clean Air Act and states may pursue efforts to prohibit the practice. And, states are doing just that.

In 2015, a New Jersey Assmeblymember was a victim of local Coal Rollers that prompted the introduction of legislation to prohibit the practice. That bill has now become law. Since then, legislation introduced in Maryland, New York and Colorado seeks to prohibit the practice. In fact, many legislative co-sponsors of the bill have attached their support as they have been the victims of Coal Rollers. In Utah, a group of physicians recently filed suit against the producers of a National Geographic cable program devoted to Coal Rollers stating that the purpose of the program is to demonstrate activities that are prohibited by federal law. 

The clean diesel industry stands firmly against the practice of Rolling Coal. An enormous investment of research and development funds have been made over decades to ensure that modern emission controls work as intended while maximizing the power and performance customers demand. We would hope that truck enthusiasts would respect American technological innovation and ingenuity and simply Roll Clean.



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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy

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