Monday, March 11, 2013

Stunning Fact: US Coal Consumption Falls To 1985 Levels

Even as coal usage grew rapidly around the world and rebounded in Europe, the consumption of coal in the USA dropped sharply in 2012.  Data for the first 11 months of 2012 shows that coal consumption likely fell last year to 1985 levels.

US consumption of coal was 15.9 quadrillion BTUs through the first 11 months of 2012 and will end at about 17.6 quadrillion BTUs for the full year.  Again, that means the US consumed about as much energy from coal in 2012 as it did in 1985!

The vast majority of coal is used in the USA to make electricity.  And so the drop in coal production results primarily from a massive shift to natural gas to make electricity.  For example, the electricity generation market share of coal has fallen from 48% in 2008 to 37% in 2012.  

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