U.S. Coal Use Is Plunging at Fastest Rate Since Eisenhower Era

Ohio coal fired plant

Consumption dropped 13% last year, set to fall as much in 2020

The decline reflects the rapidly changing U.S. energy mix, as coal is increasingly struggling to compete on price with natural gas, wind and solar. The dirtiest fossil fuel is also facing growing pressure for its role in climate change, prompting states from California to New York to mandate a transition to clean energy. President Donald Trump’s efforts to revive the industry have done little to stem the inexorable shift away from coal.

“It’s definitely a stark rebuke to to all of Trump’s promises that he’s going to bring the coal industry back,” Mary Anne Hitt, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said Thursday in an interview.

U.S. consumption plunged 14% during a brief recession back in 1954, but promptly rebounded almost 15% the following year, according to EIA data.


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