Smoke and you're a bandit: Colorado moves to ban "rolling coal"

May 4, 2017

Legislators in Colorado aren't too keen on letting diesel-smoke belching pickups ruin that state's bike-friendly culture.

At least, that's what some legislators have said when a bill passed through both state House and Senate chambers on its way to Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk.

The Colorado Statesman reported this week that the bill seeks to punish emissions flouting scofflaws with a $100 ticket for "rolling coal" on the state's roads. Rolling coal is the process of dumping excess fuel into a diesel engine and bellowing big, thick clouds of black smoke into the air.

It's already a federal crime to tamper with emissions devices, which most coal-rolling truck owners already do to their trucks by removing particulate filters. Colorado already has laws on the books that outlaw tampering with a vehicle's air pollution control equipment, which most rolling coal folks already know, and to "cause or knowingly permit visible emissions from diesel-powered motor vehicle."

In other words, it's super illegal already. 

MUST SEE: "Rolling Coal" Fine Would Be $5,000 Under Proposed Illinois Law

Instead, the new law gives law enforcement officials more training to spot "rolling coal" offenders and ticket them on-site.

According to the Colorado legislature, only eight tickets for coal-rolling related offenses were written between 2014 and this year.

Colorado joins New Jersey in outlawing the practice, but the Garden State is tougher—officers in that state can slap a fine of up to $5,000 for the offense.

According to the Statesman, an earlier version of the bill was scrapped after legislators worried that it could apply to farm equipment or commercial vehicles. In a new draft of the bill, exceptions were made for those vehicles.

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