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'Rolling Coal' by Anti-Environmentalists Dubbed Illegal by EPA

Anti-environmentalist trend of customizing super-polluting trucks gaining attention

Coal rollin' in action. (Screenshot via Cummins Rolling Coal 2/ Josh/ YouTube)

'Rolling coal,' the anti-environmentalist trend of customizing a truck to make it emit more toxic exhaust, has now been declared illegal by an official with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Bucking calls for cars to be more fuel efficient and even powered by alternative energy sources, some truck owners in recent years have been turning up the injection pump on their diesel engines so huge plumes of black smoke are emitted every time the engine is revved—often in the direction of bystanders, bikers, or hybrid vehicles.

When asked recently about the agency's stance on the vehicles, EPA press secretary Liz Purchia told TPM: "the short answer is this is illegal."

Purchia cited text from the EPA's air enforcement page which read, in part: "It is a violation of the [Clean Air Act] to manufacture, sell, or install a part for a motor vehicle that bypasses, defeats, or renders inoperative any emission control device."

And further: "The CAA prohibits anyone from tampering with an emission control device on a motor vehicle by removing it or making it inoperable prior to or after the sale or delivery to the buyer."

The practice of rolling coal gained widespread attention last month after the news site Vocativ published a story on the subject. In the piece, reporter Elizabeth Kulze noted that "an entire subculture has emerged on the Internet surrounding this soot-spewing pastime," with 16,000 collective followers on related Facebook pages and over 150,000 posts on Tumblr blogs and Instagram.

Many of the proud polluters also post videos of their coal rolling in action. Below is a compilation of a number of YouTube uploads:

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