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Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good
July 6, 2014 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes."

Vocativ: "It’s bad for the environment. That’s definitely true,” says Ryan. “And some of the kids that have diesel trucks can look like tools. And you can cause a wreck, but everything else about it is pretty good.”

Business Insider rounds up the coal-y roller coverage and YouTube footage.
posted by porn in the woods (134 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm pretty sure I hate everyone who does that.
posted by wrapper at 3:55 PM on July 6 [86 favorites]


And anyone who has fired a real steam locomotive knows that doing it right means the stack is white or clear, balancing the fuel and air at the right efficiency, wasting nothing.
posted by nickggully at 3:56 PM on July 6 [27 favorites]


At this rate, I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up hating almost everyone.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:57 PM on July 6 [88 favorites]


“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” said one seller of stack kits from Wisconsin. “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.”

I'm already there, stavros.
posted by thelonius at 3:58 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


I guess I'm just liberal scum but my jaw is just hanging there watching this.
posted by dis_integration at 3:58 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


Hah! How do you like that, face?? /slices off nose
posted by Jon Mitchell at 4:00 PM on July 6 [64 favorites]


i hate liberals so much
i'm going to shit my own pants
ha ha take that
sure do love shitting myself
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:00 PM on July 6 [129 favorites]


Not my line but: if Obama came out in favor of respiration, we'd have a one-party state in less than a week.
posted by leotrotsky at 4:01 PM on July 6 [119 favorites]


America: Putting the willfully into willfully ignorant.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:02 PM on July 6 [13 favorites]


Oh I'm sorry does my bloody noseless face OFFEND yo? * cannonballs into town drinking water*
posted by The Whelk at 4:03 PM on July 6 [14 favorites]


They're just the vangaurd of the polluter pride movement
posted by The Whelk at 4:04 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


I think it's pretty easy to understand, if you realize racism is the most primal ideology for these people. It's a history that goes way back -- a whole lot of poor whites during the slavery and Jim Crow eras got sold on living objectively worse lives, because doing anything about it would mean black people got something too.

So they'll spend money to fuck themselves and their descendents over... because people have sold them that doing so will annoy 'that n----- in the White House'.
posted by tavella at 4:04 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


That's the best way you could think of, to show the world you're an ignorant bigot?
posted by mhoye at 4:04 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


All this time I thought the Captain Planet villains were lazy writing.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 4:06 PM on July 6 [93 favorites]


Didn't Nelson Mandela once say something about how resentment was like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die? Why pollute your own air and give your own kids asthma in the service of pissing off some theoretical liberal 1500 miles away?
posted by sleepy psychonaut at 4:07 PM on July 6 [40 favorites]


It boggles the mind to even try to comprehend how fucked-in-the-head someone has to be to think like this.

I blame hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours hours and hours and hours and hours of talk radio.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:07 PM on July 6 [34 favorites]


I'm always really disappointed when I see that political disagreement has ended up at this level. Where it's so bound up in your very identity that there is no point in the two sides ever having a discussion. There is no common ground to achieve.

Also, this is really behaving like a toddler. I really don't want to offend my political opponents I want to understand them and come to consensus. This is just pointless.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:08 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Myopic.

Callous.

Malicious.

Again, I will state just one thing.

Years down the line, when shifting rainfall means far fewer crops and far more expensive foods of all types...

The cascading social unrest... rolling from nation to nation... and tearing states apart...

Government actions to curb rights and freedoms... entire populations prevented from migrating to more acceptable environs... and other atrocities yet to come...

I don't want to hear word one from these people... as they struggle to feed hungry children...

Not.

A.

Whisper.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 4:09 PM on July 6 [26 favorites]


saw a guy eating a vegetable
so i hit myself in the dick with a crow bar
freedom isn't free
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:09 PM on July 6 [205 favorites]


I have seriously considered getting some "I'M COMPENSATING" bumper stickers and keeping them in my car and then slapping them on these types of vehicles in parking lots but then I probably be assaulted and best case scenario at the trial I might have to answer why I have a roll of bumper stickers making fun of trucker drivers' penises in my car at all times and trials are the kind of things that your mom comes to and no matter how I answered it would make the car ride home awkward.
posted by Metafilter Username at 4:11 PM on July 6 [50 favorites]


For years scientists had toiled to find a way to get the morons among us to reveal themselves. No one could believe the simple genius of the scheme they eventually hatched.
posted by Western Infidels at 4:12 PM on July 6 [14 favorites]


I heard George Bush is into painting so FUCK YOU MONA LISA!!!
posted by benzenedream at 4:12 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Didn't Nelson Mandela once say something about how resentment was like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die?

I think it was Joyce Carol Oates but this has become one of those quotes that is attributed to almost everyone so let's just agree it was Mark Twain
posted by thelonius at 4:13 PM on July 6 [37 favorites]


These same assholes like to drive up next to us cyclists and dump diesel smoke on us. Ive seen it happen enough that I thought it was just something you could do with a diesel truck and then a friend explained that you have to actually install a chip in the engine to do it.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I wish they'd drive drive directly into a telephone pole.
posted by photoslob at 4:15 PM on July 6 [30 favorites]


On the plus side, these folks will be ahead on the whole vehicle transformation skillset for our petroleum-poor Mad Max future.
posted by adipocere at 4:17 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


All this time I thought all that smoke meant his truck was a busted old POS, but it turns out it's really his mind?
posted by anonymisc at 4:19 PM on July 6 [18 favorites]


“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” said one seller of stack kits from Wisconsin. “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.”

Obama should put suicide prevention at the top of his agenda for 2014.
posted by empath at 4:20 PM on July 6 [37 favorites]


This reminds me of a high school friend of mine who gleefully delighted in throwing trash out of the window of his car onto the roadside and keeping a running total into the hundreds of thousands of how many "$1000 Fine For Littering" fees he'd racked up. As some sort of defiance of the police in his mind, I think.

And he was actually pretty far left on the political spectrum. Though certainly, conservative ideology in general better comports with poisoning the commons for the sake of ostentatious and contemptuous protest.
posted by XMLicious at 4:20 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Previously
posted by ardgedee at 4:21 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


this reminds me of an old joke - what do hemorroids and pickup trucks have in common?

all assholes get one eventually
posted by pyramid termite at 4:23 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


But surely the truth lies somewhere in the middle, between reasoned debate and squalling tantrums.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 4:24 PM on July 6 [24 favorites]


then a friend explained that you have to actually install a chip in the engine to do it

My head just exploded.
posted by bradbane at 4:30 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


They seem similar to the guys with air powered train horns in their car. Blasting people just to make them jump, then laughing.
posted by jjj606 at 4:31 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


nickggully: "And anyone who has fired a real steam locomotive knows that doing it right means the stack is white or clear, balancing the fuel and air at the right efficiency, wasting nothing."

I occasional get the opportunity to engineer and play fireman on a 100+ year old steam traction engine (think a small locomotive on steel wheels). Black smoke is for losers.
posted by jgaiser at 4:32 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


As someone's mentioned before, Obama should give a speech, or better yet a series of speeches, cautioning Americans against drinking bleach and drain cleaner, and urging them not to stick their tongues into electrical outlets or to use their hands to grasp bare wires with live electricity running through them. Might help thin out the herd a little.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:32 PM on July 6 [14 favorites]


So this is why I can't find an affordable hybrid truck on the market.
posted by munchingzombie at 4:38 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


The nice thing about upward facing exhaust pipes is the ease of filling them with AB FOAM!
posted by boilermonster at 4:38 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


A bootleg decal of Calvin pissing on the earth would be more succinct and cost-effective.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:39 PM on July 6 [9 favorites]


Ive seen it happen enough that I thought it was just something you could do with a diesel truck and then a friend explained that you have to actually install a chip in the engine to do it.

It depends.
On newer trucks and cars (clean diesels), you need to modify them.
On older trucks and cars, all it really takes is a gear change and a stomp of the pedal.
posted by madajb at 4:42 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


The ironic thing in all of this is that some of the most fuel efficient automobiles are diesel. I wonder if these same hicks go looking for clean diesels to dump black smoke on. I remember having a conversation with a guy driving a huge Ram truck with a cummins diesel engine in it while filing up my TDI at a gas station. He thought my VW was the coolest thing going. Not every pickup truck is driven by an idiot.
posted by photoslob at 4:44 PM on July 6 [12 favorites]


Huh. I thought I couldn't hate humanity more. I was wrong. Thanks metafilter!
posted by snwod at 4:47 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


The Whelk: "They're just the vangaurd of the polluter pride movement"

So - back in, oh, let's say 92-ish. When I was in high school and still a little stupid jackoff, I thought it would be soooooooooooooooo great to go find some aerosols and spray into the air to protest Earth Day. OH yeah, hooooooooooo boy, I was gonna show those environmental fascists they weren't gonna take my freedom.

I've grown up - it makes me sad that so many of my fellow humans still refuse to.
posted by symbioid at 4:53 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Metroid Baby: "A bootleg decal of Calvin pissing on the earth would be more succinct and cost-effective."

OH SHIT! YOU JUST GAVE ME A GREAT IDEA (and I can donate the funds to environmental groups while I'm at it!)
posted by symbioid at 4:54 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I've had this idea circling around in my head for a while.

Ingroup/outgroup designation is a drive that's been around since before we were humans. Just about any species would benefit from the idea of promoting genomes like oneself, and we are no exception.

This drive must be a terribly powerful one, given how long it's been around. I've been listening through the news, trying to apply this particular lens to everything I hear, and it's amazing how much it seems to make sense. People will get into full ideological battles, sometimes culminating in full-fledged violence, over reasons that, outwardly, seem really stupid or petty.

I see this story as just another example. Yes, it's outwardly *incredibly* dumb, but it is blatantly another example of wanting to label oneself as part of their ingroup, and separated from an outgroup they are told to hate.

So I suppose I empathize with these people somewhat, even if I don't approve of their actions.
posted by leviathan3k at 4:57 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I imagine the Venn diagram of these guys and people who have confederate flag decals somewhere on their truck has a lot of overlap. Maybe even concentric circles.
posted by TedW at 5:00 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I'm waiting for the Australian government to defend the rights of true-blue Aussies who wish to do this sort of thing, and/or framing it as an expression of rightful pride in our carbon-rich country, despite what "some people" might say.
posted by acb at 5:05 PM on July 6


This is a bit of a thing here in Canada too with barely any confederate flags. Bizarrely not zero though; why the heck a 3rd gen Canadian would have a confederate flag on their truck is mystery to me.
posted by Mitheral at 5:06 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Can they make their truck nutz blow smoke too?
posted by futz at 5:11 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Somebody should start a rumour that liberals hate people who drink colloidal silver instead of using antibiotics. Then every spiteful right-wing dick in the country would be MeFi-colored.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:13 PM on July 6 [11 favorites]


I refuse to believe that this is real
posted by smackwich at 5:18 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


If this trend continues, perhaps the fad will die out sooner. Also, TedW is positively prescient.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:19 PM on July 6


I refuse to believe that this is real

I remember seeing an article about it linked from Facebook. I was horrified to the point that I decided that this was culture-warrior bullshit and that nobody, not even spiteful right-wingers, would be dumb enough to do something like this. A quick Googling confirmed the worst.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:20 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


On the good side, maybe this will popularize diesel so we can finally get the Smart Fortwo diesel with properly astronomical fuel mileage here in the US.
posted by sonascope at 5:23 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Previously

Alas that FPP's video link is dead. Here is a suitable replacement video showing the same vehicle:

Welderup Burnout 2013 casino Parking lot

That is not just a truck with a modification to make it smoke. That is a vehicle made for the sole purpose of creating immense volumes of black smoke. They are obviously unsuitable for the purpose the builders claim.

Apparently there are companies that produce modification kits to blow smoke. And they use them to harass bicyclists too. Why are these manufacturers not arrested on Federal charges?
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:24 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


So I suppose I empathize with these people somewhat, even if I don't approve of their actions.

It seems more like a mild form of cult programming, rather than try for total control of a small group of people hope for lots and lots of mild indoctrination and group self-policing over a wide net.
posted by The Whelk at 5:24 PM on July 6


If this is an actual way people are expressing their impotent rage, then I feel sorry for you. Good engineering that tries to strike that perfect, unattainable balance between good, fast, or cheap used to be something the US was good at.

I mean, car culture in the US was always good at extremes, but at least it was in the pursuit of HP or 10ths of a second off a quarter mile. Or the perfect Kandy Kolor paint job.

This is just being an asshole, and isn't even that hard to do. Is this the new middle America? Politically motivated ragequit that takes zero ability?

Assuming this is actually a thing. I can't be arsed to check.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:25 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


"I'll tell you what's at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you. "
Lyndon Baines Johnson
posted by madamjujujive at 5:29 PM on July 6 [73 favorites]


I was stuck behind one of these D-bags on I-25 for about half an hour leaving Fort Collins on the way home from vacation last week. I used it as a reminder that, despite our slight amazement at how ... pleasant ... things were after hanging out in a blue state for a week and a half, there are still red-state morons everywhere.
posted by jferg at 5:33 PM on July 6


The diesel engines in Dodge trucks are Cummins-branded, while the ones in Fords are called PowerStrokes.

There's a guy that I sometimes see on my morning commute--he has a 3/4-ton Dodge with a body lift, beadlocks, huge stack pipes, etc., etc. And, in the spirit of those Calvin-pissing-on-a-Chevy-logo stickers, he also has a vinyl sticker that takes up most of his rear window. It says:

"I'd rather be Cummin than Strokin!"
posted by box at 5:33 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you send me back to UK in the 1950s, Los Angeles in the 1970s, or Shanghai in the present day.

For fuck sake, this isn't a middle finger to liberals, it's fucking over everyone, just like anti-vaxxers. It's as if your individual actions don't have an impact on the environment at large, the environment where you live. You breathe the same air as your liberal neighbors.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:36 PM on July 6 [17 favorites]


I've wondered what the hell that was about. Although it's not half as baffling as the Prius I saw in a parking lot a few days with a "Friends of Coal" license plate. (Which I guess collapses the antagonism into a single-body problem.)
posted by McCoy Pauley at 5:37 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


I guess part of my bewilderment is that as a child, I remember getting all these comics about energy efficiency with Donald Duck produced by the federal government under the Ford administration. Which leads me to suspect that if these guys got their second coming of Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon, he'd be branded a RINO and kicked out at the next primary.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:40 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


This sounds like the sort of delicious panic-story that brings people closer together: razor blades in apples, fingers in the chili pot, shooters targeting people who flash their high beams, clintonistas prying the 'w' off whitehouse keyboards, electric fan death. Someone trips over an orphaned fact and emits a startled shout of confirmation bias: "Why, that is exactly the kind of thing they would do, (if they did that kind of thing!)"
posted by ssr_of_V at 5:40 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Get Obama to talk about the problem of mercury contamination in seafood, and watch these idiots start drinking thermometers.
posted by kafziel at 5:41 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


This sounds like the sort of delicious panic-story that brings people closer together: razor blades in apples, fingers in the chili pot, shooters targeting people who flash their high beams, clintonistas prying the 'w' off whitehouse keyboards, electric fan death. Someone trips over an orphaned fact and emits a startled shout of confirmation bias: "Why, that is exactly the kind of thing they would do, (if they did that kind of thing!)"

Which is why I had to sit there and Google it and read a bunch of articles and forum posts before I was willing to believe it. It's too perfect.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:45 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


This sounds like the sort of delicious panic-story that brings people closer together

Except like I mentioned above I've had 5 or 6 of these assholes belch black smoke all over me on my bike because I dared ride legally in the road. There's one guy who's done it to a group of us more than once on the same stretch of road that I imagine he's traveling on to get home from work.
posted by photoslob at 5:48 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


As a Prius driver who hunts, I have had numerous conversations with other hunters in which, when asked why I drive what I drive, I tell them that my car can go all of the places they take their jacked up trucks, can carry enough gear for two people and allows us to return home with two carcasses apiece. I tell them that I can do it all for a quarter of what it costs them. I tell them that I am not as dependent upon those awful oil producing nations that their bumper stickers are bitching about. I tell them all of this and their response is invariably "Well, you seem cool, why don't you get a truck?"
Tribalism.
It's all tribalism.
posted by Seamus at 5:49 PM on July 6 [52 favorites]


Smoke coal, evvveeeeereee daaaaay!
posted by Joe Chip at 6:01 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Whistle tips for rednecks.
posted by Nelson at 6:05 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


I tell them that I am not as dependent upon those awful oil producing nations that their bumper stickers are bitching about.

There must be some way to make them realise that a dollar saved on gas is a dollar that isn't going overseas and can be instead be spent in the local economy. Conservatives used to be about conservation, now it's about being as big a jackass as possible.
posted by arcticseal at 6:06 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


I've wondered what the hell that was about. Although it's not half as baffling as the Prius I saw in a parking lot a few days with a "Friends of Coal" license plate.

Well, coal is still our biggest energy producer.
posted by dirigibleman at 6:17 PM on July 6


You don't even have to give a shit about the environment to appreciate a hybrid's mpg.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Of course they have trailer hitch testicles.
posted by srboisvert at 6:19 PM on July 6


Reminds me of people who would gleefully flip on every light and run every appliance in the house, noticeably bumping up their power bill in the process, purely to spite people participating in Earth Hour. They would literally pay money just to be jackasses to folks they don't even know.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:24 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


> photoslob, you'll hopefully be gratified to know that one of these douchebags pulled this on me awhile back in Lafayette, Colorado while I was out on a bike ride (and he also sped past, buzzed me, cut me off at a stop light and attempted to squeeze me into the ditch despite that I was in a 6' wide bike shoulder, which, being an old bike messenger who can guess what these nuts are about to do before they do it, I just gave him plenty of space and shook my head...)

anyway. He pulled off from the stop light leaving a billowing black cloud of smoke wafting over everyone in the intersection, only to be insta-pulled-over by the sheriff he had failed to see up ahead.

I stopped briefly to have a polite chat with the cop, and he grinned rather viciously and said "yep, I saw the whole thing; he's going to get vehicular menacing tacked onto an already very expensive ticket.

so there's that.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:24 PM on July 6 [108 favorites]


I had a friend who bought a diesel truck specifically to run it on biofuel. This is like the exact opposite of that, perhaps it's good that he moved to New Zealand so he doens't have to see these idiots.

All I would be able to think of is watching money fly out of the exhaust. If they could rig up the sound of a cash register every time it goes off, that would be ideal.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 6:30 PM on July 6


ssr_of_V: "This sounds like the sort of delicious panic-story that brings people closer together: razor blades in apples, fingers in the chili pot, shooters targeting people who flash their high beams, clintonistas prying the 'w' off whitehouse keyboards, electric fan death. Someone trips over an orphaned fact and emits a startled shout of confirmation bias: "Why, that is exactly the kind of thing they would do, (if they did that kind of thing!)""

This is a real thing that I've seen real rednecked idiots do in real life here in flyover country.

We should all start using our car keys to scratch "I feel insecure about my tiny penis" onto the drivers' doors.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:36 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


We should all start using our car keys to scratch "I feel insecure about my tiny penis" onto the drivers' doors.

Nah, use magnetic labels. If people start deliberating damaging each other's stuff, then no-one can have nice things.

The recipient can get the message and remove the label.
(Full disclosure - my car is immune to magnetic labels - the panels aren't metal :-)
posted by anonymisc at 6:40 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


> I've grown up - it makes me sad that so many of my fellow humans still refuse to.

You know 12000 brand new not-grown-up ones get born every day in the US alone, right?
posted by jfuller at 6:48 PM on July 6


The comments about Obama coming out in favor of breathing remind me of Key and Peele's sketch about Obama's Meeting with Republicans (may only work in US).
posted by dhens at 6:49 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


Assholes gotta asshole, I guess.
posted by gingerest at 6:53 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I wonder what their parents think? Who am I kidding, it's "Yee-haw!"
posted by the christopher hundreds at 6:57 PM on July 6


The Whelk: “* cannonballs into town drinking water*”
When I made more or less this same argument at the dinner table the other night after discussing Weigel's article I got told to make sure and clear all my talking points with Nancy Pelosi's Flying Monkeys first.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:00 PM on July 6


Reminds me of people who would gleefully flip on every light and run every appliance in the house, noticeably bumping up their power bill in the process, purely to spite people participating in Earth Hour. They would literally pay money just to be jackasses to folks they don't even know.

Ah, but that's OK because they have an ideology you see. They call it Edison Hour. Completely different from just being a jackass!
posted by Pink Frost at 7:05 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Why You'll Never Change Political Parties
Underneath the light-hearted analysis, however, lies a reminder of a depressing truth: politics -- the process which ultimately determines whether bridges get built, banks get bailouts, and young men and women get sent to die in foreign countries -- is all about identity. Identifying as a Democrat or Republican isn't an expression of preferences about certain policies and governing styles; it's a way of life.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:07 PM on July 6


If only there were some simple way to slide under one of these things and simply switch the exhaust from the stack to the cabin air line. Then the next time they flip the switch they'll wind up looking like the Marx brothers in a chimney sweep gag.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:14 PM on July 6 [6 favorites]


Was just discussing this on Facebook and got this response:

Lots of reports in central Ohio about idiots doing this to bicyclists on rural roads. Three friends and I were "rolled" on Monday in Licking County. The smoke was so heavy we barely could see the truck, let alone read the license plate.

posted by etaoin at 7:27 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


These people believe that they need to publicly display their support to the ultrarich leadership of the Pro-Climate-Change Movement* to ensure them a place in their air-conditioned, filtered, bubble domes.

*And don't call it 'Denial'... that's a cover story from the top dogs who know they can't win if they admit they're investing in future ecological disaster because it will make them even more money.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:36 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]



If only there were some simple way to slide under one of these things and simply switch the exhaust from the stack to the cabin air line. Then the next time they flip the switch they'll wind up looking like the Marx brothers in a chimney sweep gag.


The Nazis used diesels tuned for "rolling coal" in the earlier gas chambers. Ironically, the first engine they used was taken from a scrapped Uboat, and as you might guess, a diesel sub's engine is the epitome of a diesel tuned NOT to do this.

They switched to Zyklon B for efficiency, but the diesel chambers worked.
posted by ocschwar at 7:37 PM on July 6


Sweet poetic justice: A douchebag filming himself "rolling coal" in Ocean City, MD barely makes it seven minutes before getting pulled over and fined $70 by three cops.

Specifically, two horseback police and a bike cop.

(It's mostly filler after he stops, but the last thirty seconds are EXQUISITELY HILARIOUS.)
posted by Rhaomi at 7:40 PM on July 6 [10 favorites]


If only we could hack these trucks to pump marijuana smoke
posted by porn in the woods at 7:45 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


I was horrified to the point that I decided that this was culture-warrior bullshit and that nobody, not even spiteful right-wingers, would be dumb enough to do something like this.

I'm always really disappointed when I see that political disagreement has ended up at this level. Where it's so bound up in your very identity that there is no point in the two sides ever having a discussion. There is no common ground to achieve.

It seems more like a mild form of cult programming, rather than try for total control of a small group of people hope for lots and lots of mild indoctrination and group self-policing over a wide net.

It is almost a religious fervor that we've turned our national pastime of left-vs-right into. This "rolling coal" bullshit is destructive to our environment, but it's even more destructive to our national environment of political dialog and discourse. We can't build a healthy future if we're stuck fighting culture warrior bullshit.

Every time I read one of these stories now, I keep that in mind. Going further to the left or right individually isn't helping, even of on the surface you would think it does. We're only more divided now then we have ever been. A division that only breeds further inequality and distrust.

What to do? I think it's too late to be honest. But maybe finding something in common with that person you find offensive and build from that.
posted by formless at 7:49 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


oh and in case anyone in this thread is still skeptical that this is, indeed A Thing, or thinks maybe Slate is concern trolling, or it's something entirely new and rare, I present to you a dozen-page MTBR thread from last January with cyclists of all stripes, including me, relating their run-ins with these bozos.

cyclists have actually known about this trend for quite some time. We simply figured it was yet another cyclist-focussed annoyance akin to loud pipes on motorcycles that the rest of the world knew about and didn't give a fuck.
posted by lonefrontranger at 7:56 PM on July 6 [5 favorites]


Sorry but I don't want find common ground with anyone who thinks this is making some kind of statement
posted by photoslob at 8:14 PM on July 6 [3 favorites]


Jesus Christ, that "Edison hour" thing is somehow maybe worse, because it doesn't even have any sort of redneck-shenanigans appeal, it's just blatantly hateful and self-destructive. Not that this rolling coal bullshit is much less execrable.
posted by threeants at 8:20 PM on July 6


Sorry but I don't want find common ground with anyone who thinks this is making some kind of statement

Holy fuck, can a few of the spooks monitoring the Internet for dissident activity please peel off and arrest the shit out of this person for endangering others? I just can't even
posted by threeants at 8:22 PM on July 6 [1 favorite]


Fuck them.
posted by mike3k at 8:28 PM on July 6


Once upon a time it took time, effort, and the desire to be a prick, to be a prick.

Then it became made it much easier. Haven't got much time? Go out and buy something that makes you a prick. Can't be arsed putting in even the minimal effort of going out to buy something? Order it over the internet.

Modern consumerism makes it much easier - forget time; forget effort; all it takes now is the desire to be a prick.

Maslow would weep at how we have gutted the middle ranks of his hierarchy, allowed capitalism to co-opt esteem and self-actualisation, and leaving us a society largely unable to graduate to self-transcendence.
posted by Pinback at 8:41 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


Sorry but I don't want find common ground with anyone who thinks this is making some kind of statement

I'll give it a shot: "I, too, am really jealous of people who can ride a bike up a mountain."
posted by Room 641-A at 8:45 PM on July 6 [4 favorites]


My.. Fellow..Americans.. it is imperative that we do not get our whole... face in front of the.. shotgun... /obama

In probably my one chance in my life to do so, I chose to buy a used 2010 VW TDI Sportwagon, which is a four cylinder turbo diesel six speed manual, if I'm not on the highway I get 42 MPG, highway driving about 48 -50, cause I'm nice with the stick, I regularly dust six and eight valvers off the line without hurting my consumption metrics, which my car informs me of on the dashboard in realtime. I couldn't have got a better deal on a Prius, but if I can ever buy a newish car again it's gonna be a Tesla or whatever knock-on cheaper version of electric car is available. I promise to drive my car into the ground. These people are spiritually ill, I wish that their illness was only a harm to themselves, but of course après moi, le déluge.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:19 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


Eat coal, internet!

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posted by dr_dank at 9:22 PM on July 6 [7 favorites]


you have to actually install a chip in the engine to do it

Someone should start the rumour that Obama can use these chips to track the truck and remotely kill the engine.

Of course there are no reports of this actually happening; Obama doesn’t want patriots to figure it out till he declares martial law and it’s too late.
posted by Fongotskilernie at 11:00 PM on July 6 [15 favorites]


If I didn't know better, I'd assume these were the extra scenes from "Idiocracy".
posted by whatgorilla at 11:22 PM on July 6 [8 favorites]


We Dutch bike riders (which is pretty much all Dutchfolk) have it so easy.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:07 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


A friend on Facebook said this: "Some of these people would shit in their corn flakes and eat it if Obama said not to"
posted by exogenous at 6:18 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


(I get that this a relatively minor concern in the grand scheme of things but can we not use the small dick line of attack? Because, umm, I can't help but think that passing judgement on someone's manliness from the status displays they engage in is probably contributing to the wider system that inspires this sort of behaviour in the first place.)
posted by Maugrim at 6:18 AM on July 7 [4 favorites]


First you are an insecure selfish asshole, then you get mocked for it, we respect the laws of causality in this universe, friend.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:04 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


saw a guy eating a vegetable
so i hit myself in the dick with a crow bar
freedom isn't free


This could only be better if it were in haiku
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:44 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


Dude eating veggies?
Crowbar to dick is obliged.
Freedom isn't free.
posted by mr. digits at 7:49 AM on July 7 [7 favorites]


I live in a working class town that is full of gearheads. People here love their cars, trucks and motorcycles. They maintain them lovingly. They spend their summer weekends modifying and customizing them. But they don't do roll coal. Because it's stupid.
posted by LindsayIrene at 8:04 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]


Room 641-A: "I'll give it a shot: "I, too, am really jealous of people who can ride a bike up a mountain.""

I think you give them too much credit— it's not simple jealousy, if they had past a army squad doing a training run up the side of the mountain, no soot would have been expelled. Jealously I could at least understand.

I think actions like this go deeper, to a tribal level. They've got their mental community of friends, family and belief structure, and anyone outside that sphere is simply 'other'. The other's are there to be put down, to be damaged in some way, because doing so leads lead to a raise in status among their own peers.

I don't think for one second after the laughter of "You sure got them good!" died down at the bar, that they'd look silently into their drinks and reflect on their mortality and personal weakness. At least a child would think "I want that toy!".
posted by Static Vagabond at 8:27 AM on July 7


I drive a Prius. One time the exhaust from a truck driving in front of me was so bad that black smoke came in through my air vents. I just assumed it was a broken truck. Now I have to wonder if it was broken on purpose.
posted by mike_bling at 8:44 AM on July 7


cause I'm nice with the stick, I regularly dust six and eight valvers off the line without hurting my consumption metrics
Based on that car's anemic specs, I'm guessing no one else is trying to dust you :) I've always been off the line guy, most people aren't but Honda Odyssey is enough to give you a run for your money TBH.... because performance is secondary to fuel economy in TDIs, as it should be, and off the line is where much of the sacrifice is made. My 2.5 I4 engine will eat that TDI for lunch but only make 22mpg in the process.

Don't talk too loudly about smoking eight "valvers" or the rednecks in the next room might beat us up for mixing up our valves and cylinders.
posted by aydeejones at 9:07 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


I have one particular conservative friend from whom I was waiting to hear on the subject.


...this is just butt ass stupid.

is what he said.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:12 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]


Well, the truth of the matter is that I live on Cape Cod, so I'm mostly dusting 75 year olds taking disco naps at stop lights in Buicks, but a wins a win. And the TDI is anemic to be sure, but the diesel torque and turbo spooling up in 3rd gear create a kind of "fools performance" that is fun.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:17 AM on July 7


The Conservative mindset seems to be, "SOMEONE'S going to be an asshole; may as well be me!"
posted by Legomancer at 10:39 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]


I'm a very active motorcyclist of the "adventure bike" variety - At least I used to be very active, that is. This has changed since I've moved further east into KY, where apparently this is a very big thing...

This "rolling coal" is one of the main reasons I've stopped riding. Assholes (I normally avoid generalizing, but it seems like the only reason to do this is to be an asshole) do this ALL the time around here, and it seems like I tend to be caught in it often. I'm sure they aren't the majority of people around here, there are plenty of vehicles not doing this, but I seriously do see it every day, multiple times a day. I've seen a couple of people who have been respectful of the fact that I'm on the bike, and they use a feather touch on the pedal so as to not smoke me out, but they are by FAR the minority. Most people who seem to have this capability will see someone who isn't in a "proper" vehicle, and dump smoke. This doesn't just happen to me on two wheels, people love to do this next to pedestrians as well.

I consider this an act of assault when it happens deliberately, which it seems to more often than not. In addition to the assault on the lungs, it's an attempt to blind me. Driving through a smoke bomb on two wheels isn't fun - Stay still and choke, or move on blindly. It's outright hostile.

Between this and the general inattentiveness of drivers around here, I've decided it isn't really worth it to be on the bike anymore... but I can't even WALK around here without this happening way too often for my tastes.

This act is one of many that I get on a regular basis that sends a really loud message of "we don't want your type around here." I'm not sure what that type really is, outside of "other."

In addition to the smoke, there seems to be regular attempts to run me off the road or play "chicken." And that's just on the bike - I have to walk on the street often here, because there aren't always sidewalks. It's not uncommon to hear the revving of an engine as someone deliberately accelerates and buzzes me, trying to give me a good scare at BEST.

These aren't rare occurrences, this is at least a weekly thing. I actually tracked it for a few months because I felt like I may have been exaggerating in my mind, but nope, a deliberate act of aggression -- not a driving mistake, like running a light or just driving recklessly or inattentively, but something unmistakably hostile -- happens a solid 1-2 times PER WEEK to me.

I feel like I just have to assume that some people around here are actively trying to kill me. I don't have the patience or tolerance for this anymore, and that's why I won't be living around here any longer than I need to. I'm really not sure what the other answer is, because I can't continue to willingly let this happen to me, and I do not see any potential for a non-violent response. It's not like I can just take down plates, and saying someone was in a large white truck with black exhaust is so non-specific as to be useless.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:30 PM on July 7 [6 favorites]


EPA: 'Coal Rolling' Is Illegal

I think I found the reason why coal rollers think they are rebelling against the EPA:

1998: DOJ, EPA ANNOUNCE ONE BILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT WITH DIESEL ENGINE INDUSTRY FOR CLEAN AIR VIOLATIONS
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:08 PM on July 7 [2 favorites]


McCoy Pauley: "Although it's not half as baffling as the Prius I saw in a parking lot a few days with a "Friends of Coal" license plate"
They must be friends with the person here who has a Prius with a "Not A Liberal" sticker in the middle of their back window.
posted by bluesapphires at 4:02 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


>I feel like I just have to assume that some people around here are actively trying to kill me.

Pack heat, stand your ground and then unload on them. No one'll ever convict you.

That's the way it works in The States, right?

(Ok, don't do that but I'd watch the heck out of that court case.)
posted by Maugrim at 5:52 PM on July 7 [1 favorite]


McCoy Pauley: " Although it's not half as baffling as the Prius I saw in a parking lot a few days with a "Friends of Coal" license plate"

Depending on where you live in much of the states any kind of electric vehicle is coal powered so this makes sense if it was one of the plug in versions.

double block and bleed: "We should all start using our car keys to scratch "I feel insecure about my tiny penis" onto the drivers' doors."

Dear AskMe: My penis size doesn't seem to change when I switch between my 1-ton dually and my clapped out Geo Storm. Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?
posted by Mitheral at 6:16 PM on July 7


>Can someone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

Try slamming it in the door?
posted by Maugrim at 9:46 PM on July 7


Now that I know this is a thing, I am seeing it everywhere.

Vehicle Harassment on PCH in Dana Point

They threw water bottles at me (you can hear them when they hit me and bounce to the ground). Screaming profanities at me. And this was the third time they blew exhaust on me. I was definitely quite scared.

The Sheriff's office refused to press charges so the cyclist released the video and it went viral. Result:

The passenger may face assault and battery charges, while Larsen could be looking at being charged with "words in public likely to illicit a violent reaction," [Sherrif] Hallock said.

That is sickening. The cyclist only swears after he gets hit with a bottle. Someone should confiscate the truck and charge the driver, he slowed down and drove alongside the bike so he could roll coal and so the passenger could attack.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:47 PM on July 8


charlie don't surf: welcome to the awesome reality that is being a cyclist. Not only are you vulnerable, you're a frequent target of violent aggression and outright victim blaming by both law enforcement and drivers.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:55 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


It's not just cyclists, its everybody:

Rolling coal on hot babe

I think it's time to do something about this. The internet is great at organizing outrage. This outrage is well deserved.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:22 PM on July 8


Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:16 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


The passenger may face assault and battery charges, while Larsen could be looking at being charged with "words in public likely to illicit a violent reaction," [Sherrif] Hallock said.

Ugh. I hate everything. Also, "illicit"? I hate you, too, LA Times.
posted by Sticherbeast at 4:23 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


"That is sickening. The cyclist only swears after he gets hit with a bottle. Someone should confiscate the truck and charge the driver, he slowed down and drove alongside the bike so he could roll coal and so the passenger could attack."

Yeah, and just before, I'm pretty sure the passenger yells "take that, faggot" as she throws the full 20oz bottle of Gatorade at him. Something that could have easily caused him to fall under the rear wheels of that truck, considering it was inches away from him IN THE BIKE LANE.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:59 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


“There's Nothing Wrong With Rolling Coal,” Grace Wyler, VICE, 11 July 2014
[Erik Lawson, the owner of Coal Roll’n Diesel, a North Carolina company that makes apparel and promotional materials for diesel truck rallies,] said that he understands why environmentalists are upset about videos of trucks rolling coal on Priuses and passersby (although he would prefer that they not call him an idiot and an inbred on his company’s Facebook page). He dismisses people who roll coal on the street as “bad apples” and “rebellious hellions.” But he added that even the kids posting YouTube videos of their coal-rolling road rage aren’t doing it because they hate Obama or the EPA, but because it’s sweet to make your car look like a cartoon.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:33 PM on July 11


Holy crap, what an obnoxious article. "Sure, it's bad, but it's not everybody with a diesel engine, so don't worry about it! Also blasting pedestrians with toxic fumes is hilarious!" What a piece of shit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:29 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Indeed. It's sort of the inevitable contrarian VICE piece.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:51 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


"bad apples"
"rebellious hellions"

The worst part is knowing that this is exactly the marketing this guy wants to get out there, and we are powerless to stop it. I feel like one of the angels from Wings of Desire, only observing, unable to intervene.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:27 AM on July 12


Sticherbeast: “The worst part is knowing that this is exactly the marketing this guy wants to get out there, and we are powerless to stop it.”
I checked out the guy's website and I'm not at all certain he's got a marketing message firmly in mind other than, "Hey! Buy a t-shirt! Also maybe come to my church!" One thing he seems to be right about though is that it's more likely to just be gearheads doing what gearheads do, rather than some kind of political statement.

That said, the comments on an article mentioning the EPA regulations about "rolling coal" from the PowerNation television program website are interesting. There's the expected "government overreach" bellyaching, of course. There are also very interesting technical comments from people who sound like they know what they're talking about shutting down the misinformed people who think billowing black smoke is concomitant with more power in diesel engines.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:07 AM on July 13


Colbert Rolling
posted by XMLicious at 11:50 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


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