The U.S. electric power sector consumed 661 million short tons (MMst) of coal in 2017, marking the lowest amount of coal consumed since 1983, according to data revealed by the Energy Information Administration on Friday.
Last year was the fourth consecutive year that U.S. coal consumption and coal shipments by all transport modes declined, the EIA said.
According to the agency, electric power sector coal consumption in 2017 was 36 percent lower at 376 MMst than in 2008, when U.S. coal production reached its highest level.
"The amount of coal shipped by rail has similarly declined: 432 MMst of coal were shipped by rail in 2017, a slight increase from 2016 but 33 percent lower than the 647 MMst shipped by rail in 2008," it said.
Nearly 70 percent of the coal consumed in the power sector in 2017 was shipped either completely or in part by rail, with the remainder shipped by river barge, truck, and other methods, the EIA added.
The world’s major industrialized countries, known as the G7, provide at least $100 billion a year supporting fossil fuels despite repeated pledges to phase out related subsidies since 2009, a report by Britain’s Overseas Development Institute revealed early June.
According to the scorecard, France is leading the group making early progress in ending support to fossil fuels, scoring 63 out of 100 points. Germany is right behind with 62.
Canada ranked third at 54, followed by the U.K. with 47, Italy scored 46, Japan had 44 and the U.S. recorded 42.
Out of the seven nations, the U.S. spends the most on fossil fuel subsidies, forking over $26 billion a year, the report showed.
Despite leading in phasing out support for fossil fuel use, the U.S. scores worst in ending support for coal mining, it said.
By Hale Turkes