Coal production is expected to fall this year, and federal energy experts say a big reason is that less coal is being used to produce electricity.
Short-Term Energy Outlook issued June 12, the Energy Information Administration forecasts a 2 percent decline in coal production, down to 756 million short tons.
"The production decrease is largely attributable to a forecast decline of 5 percent in domestic coal consumption in 2018, with most of the decline is expected to be in the electric power sector," the report said.
EIA sees coal's share of U.S. electricity generation averaging 28 percent both this year and next, down from 30 percent in 2017.
Also contributing to falling coal production is EIA's forecast of a 4 percent drop in coal exports this year. EIA sees more of the same in 2019, when it expects coal production to decline another 2 percent.
Natural gas will continue to expand its share of utility-scale electricity generation, with EIA expecting it to account for 34 percent in both 2018 and 2019, up from 32 percent last year. Nuclear is forecast to hold steady at 20 percent this year and then slip to 19 percent next year. Non-hydro renewables, which EIA said provided slightly less than 10 percent of electricity generation in 2017, are expected to provide more than 10 percent this year and nearly 11 percent in 2019.
Meanwhile, if your wallet is being drained whenever you fill the car, EIA says relief is on the way, though it still won't be like the old days.
The forecast is for a gallon of regular to average $2.87 this summer driving season, which runs through September. That's 46 cents more than a year ago. And this month is when the summer peak of $2.92 should hit. After that, EIA sees a gradual decline toward $2.84 in September.
"The higher forecast gasoline prices are primarily the result of higher forecast crude oil prices," the report noted.