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How Coal Rollers Work


Blame the #Hashtag
Coal rolling can be dangerous because it requires driving aggressively and impairing other drivers' vision.
Coal rolling can be dangerous because it requires driving aggressively and impairing other drivers' vision.
(Courtesy of Ohio Coal Rollers)

To an extent, anyway. Rolling coal, as a non-motorsports hobby, is a deliberate attempt to pollute the environment and waste fuel. It's something that probably wouldn't be happening if not for the sheer glee of baiting people over the Internet, although some participants have told reporters they've been into it since their early teen years [source: Kulze]. It's impossible to say for sure, but Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and Tumblrs of smoky black pictures and videos help the coal rollers boast about their accomplishments, and evidence of their misdeeds helps stir the political pot.

Facebook and YouTube are two of the most popular gathering places for the coal rollers. Memes, jokes, and general scorn for opposing political parties are shared on Facebook, and some of the most popular groups dedicated to the cause have accumulated tens of thousands of followers. And plenty of coal rollers aren't satisfied with simply blowing smoke and driving away -- it's recorded and then uploaded to YouTube, so the feat can be congratulated again and again. Any opposition, of course, begins a whole new cycle of name-calling and slur-slinging. Other social media platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, are also commonly used for such purposes, adorned with hashtags such as "#brownin," "#farmboy," "#country," and vehicle-specific terms to identify the particular flavor of Detroit pride.

It's not the smartest thing to do, considering that, in a lot of these widely-circulated pictures, the coal rollers' license plates are clearly visible. We've already discussed the illegality of coal rolling due to its obvious environmental concerns, but there's more to it. Coal rolling is also dangerous because it requires driving aggressively and impairing other drivers' vision. Such aggressive and threatening driving might result in traffic tickets if witnessed by police. Granted, the EPA is pretty busy, and even "The Dukes of Hazzard" got away with plenty of their shenanigans in broad daylight; however, posting evidence of criminal activity on the Internet is rarely a good idea, but it seems to be half the point of rolling coal.


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