Diesel truckers clear the air about 'rolling coal'

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A popular trend among diesel truck drivers is getting some heat from motorists and pedestrians. 'Rolling coal' is spreading on social media and truck enthusiasts say it's clouding their reputation.

Some videos are blowing more smoke than others. One seen on YouTube is of a truck with a decal that says "prius repellent" being not so friendly to an environmentally friendly car.

"That black smoke is basically unburnt fuel and as you do performance enhancements on a diesel engine to make it produce more power," said Steve Lee of Extreme Truck Stuff in Jacksonville.

Lee says he's never had any customers come in specifically to increase the smoke out of their exhaust, but it is happening in other places. Scott McGinley says it's a bad habit some drivers are doing intentionally, but it's also just a byproduct of performance enhancement.

"If you're hauling a heavy trailer and you're trying to accelerate to get on the interstate, you're gonna see that happen," said McGinley.

McGinley is a member of 'Smokin the Coast;' a truck club in North Florida. He's had his diesel truck for six years and says it's been beneficial to his work and family.

"I think these are probably the safest vehicles on the road, so as a family guy I've got two children and its important for me to have that they're very safe," added McGinley.

He and the founder of the club, Malcolm Weks, have both had performance enhancements to their trucks to get better fuel mileage.

The modification of the diesel truck starts in the engine starting with the turbo, then you can the size of your exhaust pipe, and finish it off with a larger tail pipe to make more noise.

Florida law states that engines should prevent excessive fumes or smoke from being emitted, but the law is one that's difficult to enforce after the state abolished the auto emissions test requirement. Weks says there are people out there abusing the legal enhancements, but he stands by diesel.

"That's what moves the earth, everything, trains are diesels, semis are diesel, city busses are diesel," said Weks.

Since 2011 there are newer models of diesel trucks that have a fuel cap for diesel and for exhaust fluid to reduce emissions.

There are also lots of other videos on YouTube of people 'rolling Coal,' like this one:


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