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Study Points Out Cost Benefits of Using Coal as Energy Source.

ENERGY RESOURCE-25 March 2008-Study Points Out Cost Benefits of Using Coal as Energy Source(C)2008 JeraOne -

A new study conducted by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) shows that individuals and families making less than $50,000 per year -- some 60 million U.S. households -- will pay 22 percent of their after-tax income for energy, twice what they spent a decade ago.

The report also shows that between 1997 and 2008, average energy bills for American working families earning between $10,000 and $50,000 will more than double, from $2,401 to $5,079. The increase is due primarily to higher costs for gasoline, which will cost families approximately 175 percent more annually this year than it did a decade ago ($3,143 vs. $1,143).

In contrast, residential electric bills for families in that same income range are projected to rise modestly, from $811 in 1997 to $1,113 in 2008 (a 37 percent increase). Residential electricity costs as a whole will decline, from 36 percent to 24 percent, as a percentage of the overall family energy budget for families earning between $10,000 and $50,000 per year.

The relatively low rate of electricity price increase is due in large part to the utility industry's reliance on low-cost domestic coal for a majority of its electric generation, ABEC reports.

"As we work for energy independence and environmental improvements, we should remember that electricity, produced mainly from domestic coal -- an abundant resource we have here at home -- has offered the most stable price over the past decade," noted ABEC Executive Director Joe Lucas. "Coal currently accounts for generating more than half of the nation's electricity and more than 70 percent of the electricity in Colorado. That's why ABEC is fighting to keep coal a part of the mix of our energy resources. Its affordability, compared to natural gas and oil, can make a huge difference in the well-being of those families who are struggling economically."

ABEC supports cleaner and more efficient coal technologies, with Lucas pointing out that the industry has reduced emissions by 70 percent, even though coal use has tripled during the past 30 years.

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Publication:Energy Resource
Date:Mar 25, 2008
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