Maryland considering ban on rolling coal

Updated Jan 31, 2017
Maryland may ban the practice of rolling coal.Maryland may ban the practice of rolling coal.

The Diesel Technology Forum testified before the Maryland General Assembly House Environment and Transportation Committee this past week in support of House Bill 11 which would prohibit rolling coal in that state.

“For the last decade, the industry has invested billions of dollars to produce diesel engines that today are near-zero in emissions. That’s why they’re called clean diesel,” Ezra Finkin, director of Policy of The Diesel Technology Forum, told the committee on Thursday.

“Diesel engines have long been a popular option in heavy-duty pick-up trucks because of their superior fuel efficiency and towing performance.  While we recognize diesel enthusiast’s love for diesel engines and the performance of their vehicles, the practice of tampering with engines and emissions controls for the purpose of generating excess emissions on demand – ‘known as rolling coal’ – is offensive, unsafe and harmful to the environment.  Most of all it is not representative of the manner in which diesel engines were designed to operate.”

Section 203(a)(3)(A) of the federal Clean Air Act forbids the practice of tampering with a vehicle’s emission controls and allows states to prohibit the practice.

“We support efforts to identify and penalize gross emitters and reject the practice of tampering with engines or emissions controls for the sole purpose of producing excess emissions.  We urge state and local air quality and law enforcement officials to fully enforce all clean air and vehicle emission laws available to stop this unlawful practice,” said Finkin.

“We’re proud to be ‘rolling clean’ with today’s new clean diesel pickup trucks, which utilize advanced combustion and emissions control technology to meet the most stringent of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean air standards.  As a result, these trucks generate near zero emissions and have lower fuel consumption.  With more diesel choices available, the expanding fleet of diesel-powered vehicles will contribute to greenhouse gas reduction and energy savings and energy security goals.”

Just over 108,000 diesel passenger vehicles, including sedans, SUVs and pick-ups are in operation in the state, while roughly 80,000 hybrids are on the road, according to the latest vehicle in operation (VIO) data commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum.  In 2015, slightly more Marylanders chose diesel as the diesel fleet rose by 4,872 while the hybrid fleet expanded by 4,457.

“We expect more diesel options to hit showroom floors very soon including the Ford F-150, America’s best-selling vehicle,” said Allen Schaeffer, the executive director of the Forum.  “A diesel will also be under the hood of the Chevrolet Cruze and Cruze hatchback that is rumored to achieve 50 miles per gallon.”