Where the United States gets its coal

Did you know?

The Black Thunder mine and the North Antelope Rochelle mine in Wyoming each produce almost as much coal as West Virginia, the nation's second-largest coal-producing state. Together, the two mines produced 22% of total U.S. coal production in 2013.

In 2013, 985 million short tons of coal were mined in 25 states. Surface mines were the source of 65% of total U.S. coal production and accounted for 60% of the total number of mines.

Five states accounted for approximately 69% of total U.S. coal production in 2013:

  • Wyoming (39%)
  • West Virginia (12%)
  • Kentucky (8%)
  • Illinois (5%)
  • Pennsylvania (5%)

Coal is mainly found in three regions, the Appalachian coal region, the Interior coal region, and the Western coal region (includes the Powder River Basin).

Facts and data for each coal-producing region for 2013.1

Appalachian coal region

  • The Appalachian region includes Alabama, Eastern Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
  • Almost 27% of the coal produced in the United States came from the Appalachian coal region.
  • West Virginia is the largest coal-producing state in the region, and the second-largest coal-producing state in the United States.
  • Underground mines supplied 70% of the coal produced in the Appalachian coal region.

Interior coal region 

  • The Interior coal region includes Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Western Kentucky.
  • About 19% of total U.S. coal was mined in the Interior coal region.
  • Illinois was the largest coal producer in the Interior coal region, accounting for 28% of the region's coal production, and 5% of total U.S. coal production.
  • Underground mines supplied 54% of the region's coal production, and surface mines supplied 46%.

Western coal region

  • The Western coal region includes Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
  • Of the coal produced in the United States, 54% was produced in the Western coal region.
  • Wyoming produced 73% of the coal mined in the Western coal region, and it is the largest coal-producing state in the United States. Nine of the top-10 producing coal mines in the United States are located in Wyoming, and all of those mines are surface mines.
  • Surface mines produced 90% of the Western coal region's total coal production.

1Year for which final annual data were available at the time of update.