Coal plummets to 1978 levels as renewables climb

A dramatic, double-digit decrease in coal production led to an overall 4% drop in U.S. primary energy creation in 2016, according to a new report.

This marked the first annual decline in U.S. energy production since 2009, according to the report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The decline in production coincided with an increase in both total energy imports and exports. U.S. fossil fuel production fell 7% from 2015 to 2016, with coal dropping 18% — to its lowest point since 1978.

U.S. energy production EIA

After ten consecutive years of decline, net U.S. energy imports grew by 6% from 2015 to 2016, outpacing the increase in gross energy exports that rose 7% during the same period, the EIA’s report showed. Most of the fuel import increase came from additional crude oil, which rose 7% as low gasoline prices led to an increase in demand.

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