U.S. Coal Consumption Drops to Four-Decade Low: EIA

U.S. coal consumption declined from its peak of 1,128 million short tons in 2007 to 687 MMst last year, the lowest since 1978, according to a June 10 report from the Energy Information Administration. Nearly all of the coal consumed in the U.S. is produced domestically, and most of it is used to generate electricity.

  • Coal production in 2018 dropped to 756 MMst from its 2008 high of 1,172 MMst, the second-lowest level since 1978.
  • The power sector accounted for about 93 percent of U.S. coal consumption in 2018 to generate electricity and heat, while the industrial sector used most of the remainder for production of coal coke, concrete, paper, steel, and other uses.
  • Less than one percent of total U.S. coal consumption was imported in 2018, while exports of coal totaled about 116 MMst, the highest level since 2013.
  • Coal accounted for 16 percent of the primary energy production in the U.S. in 2018