The Environmental Protection Agency says that owners of more than half a million diesel pickups have been rolling coal over the past decade, amounting to 9 million extra trucks on the roads in terms of emissions.
As you’re well aware, the civil enforcement of the Clean Air Act prohibits any kind of tampering or defeat devices on a federal level. State compliance is a wholly different thing, which is why the EPA believes that “state efforts could complement our work and help to reduce non-compliance” across the U.S.
The federal agency describes the coal-rolling defeat device as either software remapping or a hardware mod. The two can be used in tandem to change the engine’s functions and calibrations. As far as pickup trucks with diesel engines are concerned, disabling the EGR and switching to straight pipes are two very effective ways of producing tens or hundreds of times more nitrous oxide compared to the bone-stock setup.
A report published by the Environmental Protection Agency singles out Texas as the U.S. state with the most diesel pickups featuring defeat devices. Florida, Washington, Michigan, and Illinois follow suit on the list of worst offenders, but that’s not all. Across all states, the EPA says that an estimated 557,478 trucks are rolling coal as we speak, accounting for “approximately 15 percent of the national population of diesel trucks that were originally certified with emissions controls.”
What comes as really obnoxious about rolling coal is that a lot of people don’t understand how serious this problem is for the environment as well as our health. NOx causes breathing problems such as chronically reduced lung function, which is a big no-no during a global respiratory pandemic.
NOx pollution at ground level means that people like you and me can’t escape from the carcinogenic exhaust fumes. Acid rain also comes courtesy of nitrogen oxide combining with sulfur dioxide high in the atmosphere. This results in tremendously damaging ecological effects on plants, aquatic environments, mammals, as well as insects.