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Most Electricity in U.S. Still Comes From Coal; Where Does Your State Stand?

By: Rani Molla |

OG-AC326_energy_G_20140814153242Since the first quarter of 2001, overall electricity generation from all fuel sources has risen 13% in the U.S. The main sources of that electricity have changed slightly.

In 2014 more states use natural gas as their main fuel for electricity generation compared to 2001, while several fewer states use coal than at the start of the millennium. Hawaii and Massachusetts were the only states in 2001 to get the majority of their electricity from petroleum. While Q1 data for petroleum usage is Hawaii says it is “not meaningful due to large relative standard error,” previous data shows that petroleum is still the most used fuel for electricity there.

In total, 26 states use coal, 11 natural gas, seven nuclear, and four hydroelectricity as their main source of electricity creation in 2014. Maine uses other renewable sources — predominantly biomass — as its main source of electricity generation, followed closely by natural gas. (See how all fuels factor in to U.S. electricity.) All these numbers are first quarter data, meaning that they may not be representative of an entire year’s energy production but rather the first three months.

Toggle the bar charts below to see how much electricity was generated the first quarters of 2001 and 2014 by fuel: coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydroelectricity, petroleum and other renewables.

Texas leads the way in most electricity generation, including coal, natural gas and other renewables. New York uses the most petroleum.

Here’s how electricity generation has changed over time:

UPDATE: Petroleum still was the top fuel source in Hawaii in 2014. An earlier version of this post showed coal as the top source. The EIA data for Q1 2014 on petroleum was missing due to problems with January data, but petroleum generation in February and March alone outstripped coal for the whole quarter.