5 things to do if you get 'coal rolled' in your Prius


DeBord Prius

Matthew DeBord/Business Insider

Don't coal roll me, dude.

I'm the proud owner of a 2011 Prius, but I knew when I bought the car that I was at risk.

Not for ridicule from a bunch of "car guys" - my $18 monthly fill-ups means that they don't have much of an argument, and besides, my other car is sometimes a Ferrari.

No, I was aware that I could get "coal rolled."


What, you might ask, is coal rolling? Before you start thinking that it involves zombie Dickensian chimney sweeps or bands of angry miners imitating Ric Astley, let me explain. It's what happens when somebody with a big ole diesel pickup truck skirts the emissions regulations in his or her state and rigs their ride to spew great plumes of black exhaust smoke - just like the trucks at truck-and-tractor-pull competitions.

The New York Times recently ran a story about the practice.

As it turns out, because all Prius owners are somehow bent on getting big, smoke-belching trucks off the roads, we're often targets for coal rolling.


"Depending on whom you ask, rolling coal is a juvenile prank, a health hazard, a stand against rampant environmentalism, a brazen show of American freedom," the Times' Hiroko Tabuchi wrote. "Coal rollers' frequent targets: walkers, joggers, cyclists, hybrid and Asian cars and even police officers. A popular bumper sticker reads 'Prius Repellent.'"

According to the Times, the state where I live, New Jersey, has banned coal rolling and leveling $5,000 fines on truck owners who do the dirty deed.

So I might not have much to worry about. But if you are under coal-rolling threat elsewhere, here are some ways you can respond: