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April 9, 2024

EIA reduces its forecast for U.S. coal exports following Port of Baltimore closure

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) decreased its forecast for U.S. coal exports following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the resulting closure of the Port of Baltimore. In its April Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA reduced its forecasts for U.S. coal exports for April by 33% and for May by 20% from previous forecasts.

EIA had previously expected U.S. coal exports to increase by about 1% in 2024. The agency now expects a 6% decrease from 2023 coal export totals.

“We expect U.S. coal exports to recover toward the end of the summer or early fall, but there is significant uncertainty based on the timeline for the port reopening and how quickly exporters can adjust to export through alternative ports,” said EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis.

Baltimore is the second-largest hub for coal exports in the United States, accounting for 28% of coal exports in 2023.

Other highlights from the April STEO include:

  • Liquid fuels. EIA expects global demand for liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to reach nearly 103 million barrels per day in 2024, which is nearly 500,000 barrels per day higher than the agency previously expected. EIA revised its forecast following the release of the agency’s International Energy Statistics for 2022, which showed global liquid fuels consumption was about 800,000 barrels per day higher in 2022 than the agency previously estimated.
  • Natural gas. EIA estimates that U.S. natural gas inventory was nearly 40% higher than average at the end of March, following a relatively warm winter. Natural gas inventory typically grows during the summer, and EIA expects that the amount of natural gas in domestic storage will be about 10% higher than average in October 2024, setting a record high for natural gas storage going into the winter.
  • Electricity consumption. EIA expects U.S. electricity consumption to increase in all sectors in 2024, with the greatest rate of growth in the residential sector. Forecasts indicate the summer of 2024 will be warmer than average, driving increased use of air conditioning during the summer months and contributing to year-over-year growth in electricity consumption.

The full April 2024 Short-Term Energy Outlook is available on the EIA website.

The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the U.S. government. The views in the product and this press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the U.S. Department of Energy or other federal agencies.

EIA Press Contact: Chris Higginbotham, EIAMedia@eia.gov
EIA Program Contact: Tim Hess, STEO@eia.gov