Though conservative lawmakers and Democrats from coal-rich states have accused the administration of trying to stamp coal out of existence as an energy source in America, data released this week by the Energy Information Administration indicate that coal usage spiked in the first half of this year, Fuel Fix reports.
Although demand for coal still trails that of petroleum and natural gas, it nevertheless increased by 5.4 percent in the first eight months of 2013. In total, Americans used 12.1 quadrillion British thermal units of coal during that period.
Coal is often seen as a less desirable and more expensive source of energy than natural gas, which has become increasingly abundant because of advances in drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Still, natural gas prices increased at the beginning of the year, contributing to flat demand.