• Which states mine coal? Where does the U.S. create electricity from coal? 
     
    Using data from the Department of Energy, these maps look at the spatial patterns of coal production and use in the United States. 
    1. The US produces approximately 1 billion tons of coal a year, but is not the world's largest coal producer. What country produces more coal than the US?

      China, which produces more than 3 billion tons of coal.

    2. What is the difference between production and consumption when we talk about coal and electricity?

      States that produce electricity from coal have power plants generate electricity. States that consume electricity from coal might not have coal-fired power plants themselves, but use energy that was created from a coal-fired power plant in another state.

    3. Why would the pattern of coal use look like this? Why is so much coal mined in Wyoming, but used elsewhere?

      Some states simply have richer coal beds than other states. Just because a state has a lot of coal doesn’t mean the coal is used in that state; sometimes it is sold and shipped elsewhere.

    • The total number of employees in U.S. coal mines in 2014 was 74,931, down almost 7% from 2013.

     

    • More than 90% of the coal produced in the U.S. is used to create electricity. A small amount is used in industrial settings (mainly cement production and iron smelting), and to heat buildings.

     

    • 70% of the coal produced in the United States comes from Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Illinois—but the electricity from coal is produced largely within Texas.

     

    • Between 2000 and 2014, about 6.5% of the coal produced in the U.S. was exported to other countries.