Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different coal prices published by EIA?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes various coal prices.

Spot price is the price for a one-time open market transaction for immediate delivery purchased on the spot at current market rates. EIA publishes the average weekly spot price in dollars per ton and per million British thermal units (Btu) for Central Appalachia, Northern Appalachia, Illinois Basin, Powder River Basin, and Uinta Basin in the weekly Coal Markets report.

Nymex futures price is the price of contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) for the delivery of a specified quantity of a commodity at a specified time and place in the future. EIA publishes the Nymex prompt-month futures price in dollars per ton in two reports:

  • Powder River Basin (PRB) coal in the Today in Energy Daily Prices report.
  • Western Rail PRB coal and Eastern Rail CSX coal in the weekly Coal Markets report.

Mine sales price is calculated from the free on board (FOB) value of coal at the coal mine and excludes insurance or transportation charges. EIA publishes the average annual mine sales prices of coal in dollars per ton in the Annual Coal Report by state and by

  • mine type (Table 28)
  • underground mining method (Table 29)
  • county and number of mines (Table 30)
  • coal rank (Table 31)
  • mine production range and mine type (Table 32)
  • captive sales price for coal used by the coal producing company or sold to affiliated or parent companies, and the open market sales price of coal sold on the open market to companies other than a producing company's parent company or a subsidiary of the parent company (Table 33)

Average delivered price is the total cost of coal delivered to end users. EIA publishes the average annual price of coal delivered to end-use sectors by Census division and by state in dollars per ton in Table 34 of the Annual Coal Report.

Average annual real and nominal prices in dollars per ton by type (rank) of coal from 1949 to 2011 are in table 7.9 of the Annual Energy Review (discontinued).

Cost/price of coal delivered to U.S. power plants, which includes the total cost for the purchase and delivery of coal for generating electricity. EIA publishes the delivered price/cost in various reports:

  • EIA-923 survey database contains the delivered cost of coal by the type (rank) of coal, type of purchase, type of mine, the source mine, the supplier, and the mode of transport in cents per million Btu.
  • Electric Power Monthly, Chapter 4: Receipts and Cost of Fossil-Fuels
    • Tables 4.1 to 4.5 include the national average monthly and annual delivered cost by types (sectors) of power plant owners in dollars per million Btu and dollars per ton.
    • Table 4.10 includes the average monthly cost by state and types (sectors) of power plant owners in dollars per million Btu.
  • Electric Power Annual, Chapter 7: Receipts and Cost of Fossil-Fuels
    • Tables 7.1, 7.5, 7.9, and 7.11 include the national average monthly and annual delivered cost by types (sectors) of power plant owners in dollars per million Btu and dollars per ton.
    • Table 7.4 includes the national weighted annual average cost of coal for the electric power industry by type (rank) of coal in dollars per million Btu.
    • Table 7.17 includes the average annual cost by state and sector in dollars per million Btu.

Learn more:
Does EIA publish coking coal prices?
Coal Prices and Outlook
Coal price data

Last updated: August 11, 2017


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