Environmental activists have been known to go to excessive lengths of protest in order to get their viewpoints across, with extremist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front occasionally committing so-called acts of “eco-terrorism.” In recent weeks, a less radical yet still extreme practice has emerged within the anti-environmentalism movement.
According to a story from Vocativ, there is a burgeoning online subculture which consists of people who post pictures of their trucks spewing plumes of black smoke into the air. The vehicles are typically pumped with extra fuel and modified with smoke stacks and switches in order to emit the black smoke. Large communities exist on Facebook and other social media sites in order to celebrate and share photos of the diesel-burning practice, referred to as “rollin’ coal.” There are also plenty of YouTube videos, such as the self-explanatory “Prius Repellent.”
Slate spoke to one salesman of the smoke stacks used to modify trucks for rolling coal, who claimed that many of his customers install the devices in order to emphasize a conservative outlook regarding environmental issues.
“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all,” the Wisconsin seller said. “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.”
Environmental issues aside, rolling coal is also obviously not a cost-effective hobby. The practice burns through fuel quickly, which may give drivers of Japanese hybrid cars — referred to as “rice burners” in the coal-rolling community — the economic edge in the end after all.