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Coal Turns Ugly as Use Declines to Lowest in 20 Years

Coal demand in the U.S. is collapsing as power companies switch away from the fossil fuel to take advantage of the cheapest natural gas in 10 years.

Use of coal to generate electricity will drop 2 percent this year to the lowest since 1992, while gas-fired consumption rises 5.6 percent, according to the Energy Department. Gas prices have tumbled to the weakest levels since February 2002 this year amid a boom in output and milder-than-normal weather.