US Coal Exports
Exports Economic Contributions Report

Coal is America’s most abundant energy resource—making up 90 percent of U.S. fossil energy reserves on a Btu basis. At current consumption rates, the U.S. has more than 250 years of remaining coal reserves.


America’s coal industry is doing its part to increase U.S. competitiveness abroad while producing jobs and economic benefits at home. Coal is essential to the U.S. economy, providing affordable electricity to households, businesses, manufacturing facilities, transportation and communications systems, and services throughout our economy.

coal exports met and steam trends 2017 Export Website

Although coal’s total contribution to the American economy and way of life is impossible to estimate, coal production has demonstrable benefits. These include the direct employment of nearly 150,000 people and the creation of 3.3 jobs for every job in coal mining, for a total of more than 500,000 jobs. Coal generated $26 billion in sales and paid $13 billion in direct wages and salaries according to 2016 analysis by the National Mining Association.

Coal fueled electricity generation is a major creator of much-needed jobs in America’s economy.

Because of its abundance, reliability and affordability, about one-third of the nation’s electricity is generated from coal, resulting in electricity costs that generally are 30 percent lower in states that rely upon coal for more than half of their electricity generation versus states that rely on other fuels.

The economic contribution of coal exports extends well beyond the activities conducted at mine sites and includes employment related to downstream transportation providers that move coal from mines to ports, as well as the port services that prepare and load the coal for shipment abroad, and other businesses that are supported by coal export activity. Each step in this process contributes economic activity to the U.S. economy.

coal-met_steam_price

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration: “Quarterly Coal Report”
Did you know?

The average person in the U.S. uses nearly 40,000 pounds of newly mined minerals — including three tons of coal – each year. 

Every million tons of coal exported supports 1,320 direct, indirect, and induced jobs in the economy. 

These coal-export related jobs (at coal mines, transportation companies, port and port services, and coal-exporting ships) earn an annual average family-wage of over $90,000

  • “The fact that we’re no longer in the age of energy scarcity – that we’re in the age of energy abundance – positions the United States in a totally different place. This gives access to affordable, reliable energy in the United States, and gives the U.S. a major competitive advantage.”
    – Dave Banks, Special Assistant to President Donald Trump for International Energy, June 2017
  • “It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. Moreover, the prudent development of these natural resources is essential to ensuring the Nation's geopolitical security.”
    – Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth, March 28, 2017
  • “Historically, U.S. companies seeking to expand their revenues focused first on increasing their number and share of U.S customers. For years, this focus served as a winning strategy for many of the most successful U.S. companies. Today, global economic trends make clear that successful companies are those that reach and sell to consumers outside U.S. borders and around the globe.”
    — 2011 National Export Strategy, U.S. Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee
  • “Federal regulatory agencies should not require climate change studies in the course of their permitting processes for proposed facilities. Coal will be consumed around the world regardless of U.S. trade policy. The only question is whether the coal is produced here in North America, where environmental standards are high, or elsewhere.”
    — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, January 7, 2014
  • “At present 19% of the world’s population, 1.3 billion people, lack access to electricity and on New Policy Scenario projections there will still be 1 billion people without such access in 2030. To meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2015, 395 million more people need access to electricity. There is a strong correlation between electrification and improvement in the United Nations’ Human Development Index.”
    — International Energy Agency, Coal Industry Advisory Board
  • “Access to electricity is strongly correlated with every measurable indicator of human development”
    — Berkeley Science Review, 2008

Count on Coal

National Mining Association

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