Coal in the United States: A Status Report

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Science  28 Oct 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4622, pp. 377-384
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4622.377


Historical trends in U.S. coal production, transportation and utilization and their causes are analyzed. The changing structure of the coal industry and its possible future direction, as it is driven by the effects of the oil embargo and world oil prices, are examined. National policies in the United States to increase coal use from indigenous sources in order to diversify and increase reliability of supply raise questions as to availability of coal supply and potential markets. Possible constraints on U.S. coal production, transportation, and utilization are appraised and it is concluded that increased coal consumption is "demand constrained." The causes and potential means of removal of these limitations are examined.