"Rollin’ Coal" Isn’t A New Thing Or A Tea Party Thing

rollin-coalDo you ever read an article written by somebody so clearly out of touch with the subject matter that you find yourself cringing all the way through, just to see how bad it gets? That’s how I feel about Joshua De Leon’s post over at Ring of Fire, where he equates the long-standing diesel truck tradition of “rollin’ coal” with Tea Party rednecks.

Ugh. Crine. Dude, just stop. “Rollin’ coal” is, for the uninitiated, is the act of dumping excessive amounts of fuel into a diesel engine, too much for the motor to efficiently burn, resulting in big billowing clouds of black smoke pouring of often-modified exhaust systems.

It’s an asshat move by little boys impressed with smoke. Like, literally, it is one of the least impressive things a person can do with a car when you think about it. It’s the grilling equivalent of dumping so much starter fluid onto the coals that it ruins the taste of pretty much everything around you. It’s wasteful, childish, and it’s hardly a new trend. As long as there have been diesel trucks, there have been people modifying them, which often meant feeding the engine more fuel than it could handle.

90% of the time though, these guys are rollin’ coal at the drag strip on off-roading. It’s certainly not fair to characterize everyone “rollin’ coal” as an inconsiderate jerk, as the strongest proponents of diesel truckin’ beseech fans to keep it to designated dragstrips and muddin’ areas. Many of these guys simply reduce the amount of fuel going to the engines when they’re on public roads, and then it’s all kosher as far as I’m concerned.

Lots of smoke, lots of laughs, life goes on. The problem of course comes when these idiots decide to “roll coal” on an unsuspecting pedestrian or Prius driver (though let’s be honest, some of them probably deserve it). Inhaling diesel fumes is a great way to kill brain cells, which is exactly why these guys are so impressed with something so small-minded.

You know what rollin’ coal has almost nothing to do with? The Tea Party wing of modern day conservatism. Let me make it clear; I am no fan of the Tea Party’s brand of radical extremism, nor am I in anyway defending them. I am saying, however, that equating a long-standing trend in the truck community with political extremism if clickbait, pure and simple. Do a lot of these guys hate on environmentalists? Yup. But this isn’t a new thing either, it’s just a realigning of the political landscape for an easy-to-make-up article. Let’s turn a few YouTube videos into a nationwide trend!

Again, ugh.

“Rollin’ coal” is the symptom of a poorly-functioning engine, pure and simple, and almost every state has a hotline where you can call in and report these assholes for purposely smogging another driver or pedestrian. Even Texas has a hotline and legislation against vehicles that produce “excessive smoke for more than ten seconds) with up to a $350 fine. Granted, it’s pretty lenient, and the fine isn’t all that hefty, but it’s not like there isn’t a law against it. In reality though, there are far more serious sources of excessive pollution we need to be worrying about, like the hundreds of thousands of methane-leaking oil wells in Pennsylvania.

If rollin’ coal bothers you and you see it, get the license plate of the vehicle and call your local smog hotline. Seriously, it takes ten damn seconds of Googling to figure it out. But I don’t see any reason to try to make this political, especially based off an article that seems shaky in its knowledge at best. Not everyone who drives a Prius is an “environmentalist” and not everybody who drives a diesel truck is a Tea Party activist. Does EVERYTHING have to be political these days?

Rollin’ coal is a stupid trend that is already outlawed in most states, and I’m not going to lose my shit over the dumbass automotive antics of a handful of redneck dudebros. The world has much bigger things to worry about.


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.