pour on the coal

pour on the coal

old-fashioned To increase one's speed, effort, or energy. An allusion to steam-powered locomotives, which uses a the coal furnace to create steam that controls the train's speed. We're going to be merging onto the highway soon, so be sure to pour on the coal before we reach the on ramp. What a come back! They've certainly poured on the coal since halftime, haven't they?
See also: coal, on, pour

pour on the coal

Speed up, as in They keep passing us so pour on the coal, Mom! or We can get this issue of the paper out on time if we pour on the coal. This slangy expression originated in aviation in the 1930s but must have been an allusion to the coal-burning engines of trains and ships, since aircraft were never so powered. It has since been transferred to other vehicles and other endeavors.
See also: coal, on, pour