Colorado to outlaw ‘rolling coal’ nuisance exhaust

Author: John Tomasic - May 2, 2017 - Updated: May 2, 2017

Rolling coal via YouTube.
Rolling coal via YouTube.

It took two tries this legislative session, but Colorado lawmakers on Tuesday voted to ban “rolling coal,” the practice of modifying a diesel car or truck engine to spew unfiltered exhaust.

Senate Bill 278, sponsored in the House by Fort Collins Democrat JoAnn Ginal and in the Senate by Durango Republican Don Coram, passed a final reading in the House today by a wide margin, 40-25.

This is the second version of the bill this year. The first version was killed in a Republican-controlled Senate committee by members who thought the proposed law might net agricultural workers and freight haulers and lead to stricter general vehicle emissions laws. The new version made the behavior and type of vehicles targeted by the law more explicit.

Rolling coal has caught on as a form of defiant cultural protest in the era of climate change and emissions-free vehicles. Drivers pass unsuspecting cyclists and electric car drivers on the road and unleash clouds of toxic black smoke. Coal rollers often post videos of themselves in the act.

The Colorado bill would make rolling coal a traffic infraction and subject drivers to a $100 fine.

Colorado will join New Jersey as the only states that have outlawed the practice. The Garden State banned coal rolling in 2015. A New Jersey citation carries a $5,000 fine.

As many opponents of the bill have pointed out, altering a vehicle’s emissions system to release pollutants is already a federal crime. But traffic officers have to go “smoke school” to train in identifying and citing coal-rolling lawbreakers, so the federal law is rarely enforced.

Dan Grunig, executive director at Bicycle Colorado, told The Statesman weeks ago that making rolling coal illegal as a matter of state law in Colorado would have positive effects.

“The important thing is that the bill would give law enforcement a tool to address the danger,” Grunig said, adding that traffic citations would create data from which to map the phenomenon.

“This concerns tourism, too,” he said, citing state statistics that show cycling tourists spend $317 million in Colorado every year. “Rolling coal sends the message that our roads are unwelcoming.”

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for a signature.

John Tomasic

John Tomasic

John Tomasic is a senior political reporter for The Colorado Statesman covering the Colorado Legislature.


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  • Prius repellant

    May 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

    And I will continue to roll coal on Trump protesters until I drop an injector

    • Goforit

      May 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Good! You’ll be greeted with cheers from the protest after a bored cop takes that cool $100 from your pocket. Then, while cursing at being punished (for your immaturity), you’ll have to think twice about rolling because you’re now a $100 short on fuel. Stupid games win stupid prizes. Go win.

      • Chase

        May 4, 2017 at 9:15 am

        If we can afford a diesel and the mods required to “roll some coal” then we ca afford a 100$ ticket, and honestly it will be worth it

        • Mark Jacob

          May 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm

          I’d never even heard of this before, but honestly… this is a thing that people who are old enough to drive actually do? That’s genuinely insane, you know.

      • goforit = butthurt

        May 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm


    • Walt Johnson

      May 3, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      O my gosh you are so cool. I wanna be a pepe loving trump bro like you. Can you show me how to modify my truck so i too can look so awesome?

    • Common Sense

      May 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

      Rolling coal is for boys with adequacy issues. Prius Repellant seems to have a serious one. His injectors haven’t dropped.

    • Tim Hutchinson

      May 3, 2017 at 6:47 pm

      I’ll just follow you to your trailer park and sugar your gas tank

      • Justin

        May 4, 2017 at 1:16 am

        Do you even know what that will do hahaha(probably not)

      • Pablo Picasso

        May 4, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Fuel tank** if it were gas you wouldn’t be able to blow smoke there hot shot

    • Bud Scott

      May 4, 2017 at 1:00 am

      America Inbreeding

    • Keith

      May 8, 2017 at 10:20 am

      One of the few times I see an appropriate use for rolling coal 🙂

  • David

    May 3, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Only $100? Not much of a deterrent.

    • TunedMax

      May 4, 2017 at 7:09 am

      100 is the start… $10,000 fine for any emissions equipment removed. So could be up to $30k-$40k per federal regulations.

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  • Don

    May 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    And you’re proud of this? I hope it makes you very proud to be stain on our species, trumpette.

    • Frakkle

      May 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      How is billowing clouds of toxic waste seems to be much more related to leftists and Clinton! Boo on anyone who doesn’t do their emissions tests.

      • roallingcoaleverywhere

        May 7, 2017 at 6:16 pm

        its not even toxic dip. eat pure cumins v8 turbo diesel smoke you smart car lover

        • Coal Is For Sissies

          May 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm

          Maybe learn to spell? It’s CUMMINS you buffoon.

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  • Charlis Momma

    May 3, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    GOOD NEWS! I wish the fine were $5k.

    • roallingcoaleverywhere

      May 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      wish your head was up my tail pipe so you can eat pure cumins v8 power

  • Ryan

    May 3, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    At what point can you justify rolling coal? Because I have several friends that have diesels they use that blow smoke out the exhaust. Also to note, that black smoke is unburnt fuel, gas vehicles can “roal coal” as well if you over fuel them. Diesels are no worse than a gas engine when it comes to pollutants.

    • Alex

      May 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Not true, diesel produces far more NOx and particulates. It’s a big thing here in the UK right now, looks like they could be banned from city centres soon.

  • Fuck hill

    May 3, 2017 at 9:18 pm


    • Chris70

      May 6, 2017 at 4:03 am


  • Connor

    May 3, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    I am not one to intentionally “roll coal” especially on purpose or in someone’s face. I’m just worried I’ll get ticketed for accelerating. I’ve got a diesel swapped in to my jeep and it’s an older model engine so it can be a little smiley at times..

    • Connor

      May 3, 2017 at 9:27 pm


  • Kris

    May 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    We can all do our part and taking better care of where we live on this planet. I believe we got bigger concerns then rolling coal, look up in the skies and see what they’re spraying us all with. I’ve lost count and how many toxins I’ve heard are in these chemtrails. But when I hear they’re talking about using Roundup that’s a defoliate in the planet. If you think we got problems with black cloud coming out of an exhaust pipe wait till there’s nothing left to eat because it’s all dead from Roundup. Look up and wake up. They start making a difference together instead of pointing fingers at one another.

    • AircraftMech

      May 4, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Buddy, as a certified aircraft mechanic, working at a jet manufacturer, with access to more manuals than you could comprehend. I assure you, “chem trails” are only water vapor. The air is compressed and heated as it goes through the jet engine, it is then released in such a state. Causing water vapor in the air to condense and form clouds, or as some people refer to them “chem trails”, but are truly known as contrails.

  • Trump nation

    May 3, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Love how the stock image is clearly a photo shopped image. That black soot that’s coming out is no more harmful then any gas emissions. Most of it falls back down unlike gas emissions. Older diesels do it without modifying anything. You gonna fine them too? Just another way liberals try to control something without knowing anything about.

    • 12v

      May 3, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      My 12v Cummins is a menace to society

    • America's schools have failed

      May 5, 2017 at 12:06 am

      Um….not combusting fuel all the way CERTAINLY produces more pollutants than complete combustion. Also, go look up what a hydrocarbon is….they’re not healthy…..Do you realize that there’s more asthma in cities than in the country? Why do you think that is?

    • AsherMaximum

      May 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Here’s the video the image is from.

  • Cal

    May 4, 2017 at 2:28 am

    I have 2 diesel trucks and the definition of coal rollers in this article is the most stupid definition ive heard I use both of trucks for hauling and one as my daily driver they are both modified and can roll coal. This is basically an insult to all diesel owners saying we all just drive around and blow smoke every where cause we have nothing better to do. Well that’s not the case

    • Koda

      May 4, 2017 at 8:11 am

      ok so what do you do? Your post contributed absolutely nothing to changing that view . Literally what do you do:?

    • Prius

      May 4, 2017 at 10:02 am

      You are right, it’s not the case. However, the minority of the group is definitely speaking for you. Not all trucks do this. I didn’t know “coal rolling” was an actual thing until I switched from an older BMW to a Prius. In the past year I’ve had guys attempt to coal roll me, once even blinded me and boxed me in just because I switched to a damn Prius to save money. Big men in big trucks picking on a small women while driving home from work.

  • Jared

    May 4, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Simpletons who chose to purposely tinker with their trucks to blow plumes of smoke into others faces do not respect others. Additionally, they should be held accountable but I think these revisions should be considered:

    1st time offense- Traffic violation, $100 fine. Vehicle must be fixed and checked within 30days.
    2nd time offense- Traffic violation, $500 fine 2pts off license. Vehicle must be fixed and checked within 30days.
    3rd time offense- Traffic violation. $1500 fine 4pts off liscense. Vehicle must be fixed and checked within 30days.

    I don’t think imbisols would be laughing if it was enforced in this manner😉

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  • Bob Roberts

    May 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I had some fool do this to me while I was riding my motorcycle, I didn’t like the smell of the smoke and he didn’t like the taste of carbon fiber knuckles. Too bad for him…

    • Libertarian electrical engineer

      May 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      And that’s assault, over exhaust. You should be incarcerated and sodomized.

      • Bicycle Driver

        May 8, 2017 at 10:03 am

        Actually the motorcyclist was assaulted first. Rolling coal on someone is assault and battery

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  • Freedom fighter

    May 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    I live in a county that has no emissions on diesel trucks because most of us are farmers/ranchers. If I was to get a ticket there is not any emissions equipment to fix on it. This is just another bunch of Boulderites stuffing their noses up the asses of the government officials to screw the normal people that want to be left alone to live their lives free, which is not happening because of you green peace loving jerks! And it needs to be said that this rolling coal is happening by young punks that are just being young punks as we all were at some point.

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  • Ramadan Mubarak

    May 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    It is not extremely expensive to do this. If you have a diesel from before the DEF law update, so any diesel motor before 2010, then just add a performance chip like the edge chip for between $100 to $300 which you can program to have the injectors pump more fuel into each cylinder, and boom, done, the black smoke is just unburned diesel fuel since your pushing more fuel into each cylinder than can be burned before it is pushed out the exhaust port. Anything after 2010 you need to make sure your programmer chip has a DEF flash to clear that sensor from working. It’s extremely tacky and wasteful, but not expensive, and all they have to do is push a button to return it to it’s stock state.

    Ramadan Mubarak images 2017

  • Fez

    May 7, 2017 at 8:35 am

    A $100.00 fine is nothing. These vehicles are illegally modified, so they should be impounded and the owner forced to pay for the repair to restore it to factory condition.

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  • Keith

    May 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

    How stupid does a cop have to be to meed “training” to spot a vehicle rolling coal????? I would be very afraid of that kind of stupid.

    • Bicycle Driver

      May 8, 2017 at 11:52 am

      With the way defense attorneys work they have to cover all their bases. If I’m not mistaken there was a guy that got a weed charge dismissed because the officer had never been formally trained on what weed smelled like, so how could he prove that he new what it smelled like and that, that is what he smelled coming out of the vehicle.
      Not to mention that older diesels do emit some smoke. The older the motor the more smoke it emits. Coal school teaches the officer to be able to identify the density of the smoke emitted and compare that to the age of the vehicle.

  • Alena

    May 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Now if we can ban people who altered their vehicles without a muffler driving around at high speeds, revving engines at every intersection at 2 or 3 in the morning that would be great…

Comments are closed.