Recently, there's been a lot of hype and attention given to the practice by some diesel truck owners/operators known as "Rolling Coal." Essentially, too much fuel is dumped into the engine, creating huge, billowing black clouds seemingly designed to make Prius drivers whine online. I have a solution.
Well, I suppose "solution" is only the right word if you think there's a real problem here. Which I'm not so sure I do. Sure, people that cover drivers of cars they don't like in clouds of diesel soot because they think they're making some inane statement about... well, I'm not exactly sure what the statement is, but those people are dicks, no matter what. Sure, some Prius or other hybrid drivers can be eye-rollingly smug, but come on.
What I don't really believe is that this practice is some new massive, widespread epidemic of dickheads blowing soot and money out their exhaust stacks. I think it's been around for quite a while in limited communities of enthusiasts, and it's basically just become live-action trolling. The more attention we give it, the more of a thing it becomes.
That said, plenty of people are talking about it now after this article by Slate's David Weigel who, while being correct about the trend existing, seems to ascribe more of a political slant to it than probably exists given that Rolling Coal predates the Obama administration.
For various reasons, people who buy these trucks are less likely to be young, urban-dwelling progressives. If you were to poll people buying kale at Whole Foods a large percentage of them would probably say they oppose the act of blowing smoke like this, but the buying of kale isn't exactly a political act.
Well, these people were successful in forcing the EPA to get involved. And the kind of hurt, whiny handwringing talk that we see on social media sites from single-tear-shedding Prius drivers are just giving these coal-trolls exactly what they want. And there's no reason to do that. Not when there's such a better way.
What's that better way? Rolling Color. I'll explain.
If guys in big diesels (which, really, are actually pretty efficient engines) can modify their trucks to emit huge black clouds of soot, there's no reason why Prius or other electric or hybrid car drivers can't modify their cars to emit huge clouds of something else.
Ideally, these clouds would be similar to the big black diesel clouds, but visually distinct, and, importantly, harmless to the environment. That's a crucial point to making this acceptable to the people who need to do this most.
What I'm thinking is that massive, multicolored clouds of colored powder could be released. There's even a source for just this sort of thing, and it's even called Hippie Powder. Holy crap, that's perfect. What would piss off the guy who just rolled coal on your Prius more than getting a rainbow of retaliatory clouds of some shit called Hippie Powder?
Just picture it. You're (well, a hypothetical Prius-driving you, maybe) driving around in your Prius, minding your own business, when some jackass in a lifted bro-truck rolls coal all over you. Instead of getting all teary-eyed and clenching your little, smooth, new-media fists, how good would it feel to flip a switch and go all Hindi-color-festival-of-Holi on his ass? Make the fucker look like part of a My Little Pony background and get the hell out of there.
Okay, so how to do this? You're not going to be able to do the same rich-fuel mixture trick as the diesels, so we'll have to do a little more work. You'll need a crapload of that colored powder, some sort of storage tank for it, and a few electric 12V fans. Oh, and some big fake exhaust stacks.
I think you could likely just use the same sort of big, slick, chromed exhaust pipes the coal rollers use, though any hollow pipes will work. Galvanized HVAC ducts, hollowed-out bamboo, PVC, whatever. You could connect these directly to your exhaust if you're in a hybrid or something with a combustion motor, but it's not needed.
You'd mount the pipes on the car somewhere, and connect the bottom end to your big powder tank. In the mouth of the powder tank, and possibly at several more locations in the pipe (depending on the pipe length) you'll want to install a few powerful 12V fans.
The fans will be set to draw air from the tank and up and out the stacks, carrying lots of colored powder with it. You'll want to give the tank a vent to the outside air so you don't just end up making a vacuum in the tank. We want a flow of air into the tank, and air/powder out of the stacks.
A simple dash switch can turn the color-rolling system on and off, and if you want to get fancy, you could have multiple tanks with multiple stacks, each full of a different color, so you can make anyone who dares roll coal at you look like the winning float at a Pride parade.
I'm not sure I'm really invested enough in this whole rolling coal thing to try it, and I don't have an electric car or a hybrid, but still, I'd love to see someone try this out even though I'd suggest doing it off a public road and in a controlled environment as it could be unsafe or illegal. Still, it would look awesome.