The price for a ton of coal varies greatly depending on what kind of coal it is. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price for coal in 2012 was $39.95 per ton.
There are four major ranks of coal. The lowest quality, and therefore cheapest, is lignite coal. In 2012, the average price per ton was $19.60.
The next level of quality is subbituminous coal, which sold on average $15.34 a ton. Bituminous coal, the most abundant rank of coal found in the U.S., sold at $66.04 per ton. Finally, anthracite coal sold at $80.21 per ton. As of the 2012 report, coal still remains the least expensive fossil fuel when basing the cost per British thermal unit.