‘Rolling Coal’: Anti-Enviroment Political Protest?

Dustin Wicksell

Anti-Obama protesters have found a new way to voice their displeasure with the president’s policies, and it’s called “Rolling coal.”

Rolling coal involves modifying diesel engines and blowing thick clouds of black soot into the air as a method of political and cultural protest, The Huffington Post reports. “Coal Rollers” can spend thousands of dollars modifying their vehicles, using components to force more fuel into their engines. When that fuel fails to combust properly, it leaves the engine as soot, or as some coal rollers call it, “Prius repellent.”

Diesel exhaust has been linked to a variety of negative health and environmental effects. That isn’t really the point though, according to one dealer who sells smokestack kits to coal rollers, but refused to be identified when speaking to Slate:

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all. If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Rolling coal isn’t exactly new, but it has garnered increased attention since Voactiv ran an expose on the subculture last month. The practice has its origins in modifications made for truck pulls, which would help drivers squeeze more horsepower and torque from their engines. Now, however, rolling coal has become a powerful cultural statement, as well as a political one.

“Your truck is not just something to get you from point A to point B. It’s who you are,” explained a 25-year-old mechanic identified only as Robbie by Voactiv. Rolling coal since he got his first truck, Robbie explains that the practice is “just fun. Just driving and blowing smoke and having a good time.”

Divisively differing perceptions of environmentalism help to fuel some coal rollers, who see small cars like the Prius as a symbol of political and cultural attitudes that they despise. “The feeling around here is that everyone who drives a small car is a liberal,” says Ryan, a coal roller interviewed by Voactiv. “I rolled coal on a Prius once just because they were tailing me.” As The Inquisitr previously reported, President Obama recently announced new EPA regulations governing the emissions of coal burning power plants, which were largely supported or decried along party lines.

“It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” Ryan says of coal rolling, admitting that there are some other issues with the practice. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck.” Despite those obvious drawbacks to rolling coal, he claims that “everything else about it is pretty good.”

[Image via BombedCummins and YouTube]