NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of food is rising. The price of gas is
rising. Now add electricity rates to the list.
Surging coal prices are behind it. Despite an abundance of coal
in the U.S., global factors are stoking demand. Snowstorms in China
this winter cut production there, while heavy rains flooded mines
in Australia. Australia is the world's largest coal exporter.
Meanwhile, global demand for coal is rising, especially in China
and India where it's needed to power their fast-developing
That's put American coal at a premium. The Energy Department
says exports jumped nearly 20 percent last year and are expected to
rise another 15 this year.
Central Appalachian coal is a benchmark grade and it's widely
used by power plants. Its price has more than doubled from around
$40 a ton early last year to almost $90 a ton now.