Coal usageToday, fossil fuel industries drill or mine for these energy sources, burn them to produce electricity, or refine them for use as fuel for heating or transportation. Coal was the first fuel exploited by humans for energy on a large scale, it is a black or brownish-black carbonaceous rock formed from dead trees and other plants. Coal is classified into four main types: anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite. The U.S. is the third largest coal consumer worldwide. The country's electric power sector was responsible for 8.3 quadrillion British thermal units of coal consumed in 2020. However, the use of coal has notably decreased in recent years, while coal’s producer price index had roughly doubled since 1982.
Crude oil and natural gas usageCrude oil and gas were formed from dead marine organisms. After crude oil is removed from the ground, it is sent to a refinery where different parts of the crude oil are separated into various petroleum products. Crude oil is often used to fabricate liquid-fuel products like gasoline, diesel fuel, and heating oil. The transportation sector is by far the largest consumer of petroleum products in the U.S. Unlike coal, petroleum consumption has remained high, despite greater concerns over its impact on the climate.
Meanwhile, natural gas has overtaken coal as the main fuel for U.S. electricity generation. In order to meet consumer demand, the U.S. imported some 2.6 billion cubic feet of natural gas in 2020.