Recently, the price of a barrel of oil rose to $40, the most expensive price in American history. With the rise in oil prices and constant instability in the Middle East, the United States seems headed for an energy crisis.
But there is an abundant, low-cost energy source located throughout the country. That energy source is coal.
After years of mine shutdowns, there is a renewed interest in coal in the United States. Companies such as Quest Minerals and Mining Corp. are now reopening mines and resuming coal production.
There are 274 billion tons of coal in mines across the country. That amount of coal could last the United States for about 250 years, considering that the average American uses 7,000 pounds of coal each year. Using this resource decreases dependence of foreign oil and stimulates the economy in several ways.
First, coal stimulates the American economy by maintaining and creating jobs for people that work in the mines and in coal transportation. For each of the four major freight rail lines, coal represents at least 40 percent of the total tonnage hauled each year. Many people are dependent on coal for their livelihood and will remain so if Americans increase their use of coal as an energy source.
Moreover, because coal is a domestic resource, the cost of transporting it is much lower than the cost of importing oil from other nations. Transportation costs of coal are also lower because there are more options for transporting coal from one place to another. Coal is carried by barge and by train.
Using coal is beneficial for more than just jobs and reducing transportation costs. The abundance of coal allows the price to remain stable, unlike oil prices in the volatile Middle East. Commodities like coal, whose costs remain stable or decrease, keep inflation low. Low inflation rates allow Americans to be confident that their savings and investments are safe.
Another major benefit of coal power is the cost of electricity generated by coal. Generation of coal power costs one-fourth that of natural gas power generation. Businesses using coal power keep their overhead costs low and maximize profitability. Furthermore, coal is used to generate electricity for telecommunications, computers and all other electric-based technologies that boost the American economy.
The benefits of coal power make it a logical choice for the power source of the future of the United States.