The electric power sector’s consumption of coal continues to fall, reflecting the industry’s lower demand for the fuel, according to federal energy officials.
In this month’s
Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration said power plants’ use of coal will drop to 602 million metric short tons (MMst) in 2019 and to 567 MMst in 2020. Last year, coal consumption reached a 39-year low of 687 MMst.
At the same time, coal production continues its sharp decline, according to the report. Output for 2019 will be 699.8 MMst, compared to last year’s 755.5 MMst. Production for 2020 will be 645.5 MMST, the report said.
Natural gas continues to command a larger share of electric generation, although this month’s forecast didn’t change from last month. The share is expected to be 37% in 2019 and 38% in 2020, up from 35% in 2018.
Turning to the cost of gasoline at the pump, EIA lowered its forecast for the summer driving season. This month, the agency predicted that a gallon of regular would average $2.76 this summer, compared to last month’s forecast of $2.92.
“The lower forecast [of] gasoline prices primarily reflect EIA’s expectation of lower crude oil prices, this summer,” the report said.