According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, roughly 70% of petroleum-fired electric generating capacity that still exists today was constructed prior to 1980. Utility-scale generators that reported petroleum as their primary fuel comprised only 3% of total electric generating capacity at the end of 2016 and produced less than 1% of total electricity generation during 2016.
Of the 36.4 gigawatts of domestic petroleum-fired generating capacity, more than 68% is located in 10 states, primarily in coastal states with access to marine ports. When these plants were built in the 1970s, coal-fired generators were the main sources of electricity generation. However, coastal states like Florida are relatively far from coal production areas. Because coal is primarily transported by rail, the cost of long-haul coal transport by rail may not be competitive in these areas compared with oil delivered by marine modes.