“Rollin’ Coal” Fine $5,000 If New Pollution Bill Passes

Updated Apr 7, 2015
Photo by Larry Walton/Editorial Services WestPhoto by Larry Walton/Editorial Services West

Smokin’ diesel pickups catching attention for street antics; pouring out black smoke could be costly for drivers

It looks cool on the dragstrip, but rollin’ coal on the street not so much. At least not to those who enjoy clean air.

Modifying air-pollution (smog) controls, or anything that adversely affects the exhaust output of street-driven vehicles, has been a federal offense for decades.

But there are still those who disregard the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) smog laws and hot-rod their diesel trucks by modifying or removing the DPF and putting in performance tunes for street driving.

The result of such mods is the trucks “roll coal” whenever the driver stands on the throttle.

Those plumes of black smoke pouring out the exhaust that brings smiles to such drivers has caught the ire of Rep. Will Guzzardi from the Illinois General Assembly who is proposing a new air pollution bill that would directly target coal rollers by fining the driver $5,000 for such offense.

Here’s a synopsis of the proposed Illinois bill as introduced:

Amends the Environmental Protection Act. Provides that no person shall retrofit any diesel-powered vehicle with any device, smoke stack, or other equipment that enhances the vehicle’s capacity to emit soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions, or shall purposely release significant quantities of soot, smoke, or other particulate emissions into the air and onto roadways and other vehicles while operating the vehicle. Provides that any person who violates this provision shall be subject to a penalty of not more than $5,000 per violation.

The bill has caught the attention of other states lawmakers as well.

This goes to show that it only takes a few knuckleheads driving around purposely rollin’ coal just to annoy those around them can bring a lot of attention in ways that have far greater reach than they imagine.

I’ve lived in numerous states around the country from Mississippi to Oregon. A couple had zero smog inspection requirements to get your vehicle licensed. Others required a full smog check for both licensing and resale. If any mods were done to the vehicle’s emissions controls, you couldn’t get it licensed until everything was back in compliance.

As one person commented on this topic, “Continue to roll coal and you can expect an emission testing station in your area and an increase in the bloated bureaucracy that runs it. You can expect laws that will prohibit any modification to your vehicle with out government approval.”