FILE - In a June 3, 2014, photo, the Paradise Fossil Plant stands in Drakesboro Ky. The Energy Department said America’s carbon dioxide pollution from power plants hit a 27-year low in April. The electric power sector, responsible for about one-third of the country’s heat-trapping emissions _ spewed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide in April, the lowest for any month since April 1988. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, File)

FILE - In a June 3, 2014, photo, the Paradise Fossil Plant stands in Drakesboro Ky. The Energy Department said America’s carbon dioxide pollution from power plants hit a 27-year low in April. The electric power sector, responsible for about one-third ... of the country’s heat-trapping emissions _ spewed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide in April, the lowest for any month since April 1988. (AP Photo/Dylan Lovan, File) (The Associated Press)

Feds: US heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from power plants drops to lowest since 1988

Energy Associated Press

The Energy Department says heat-trapping pollution from U.S. power plants hit a 27-year low in April.

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Energy Department economist Allen McFarland said a big factor was the long-term shift from coal to cleaner and cheaper natural gas. Outside experts also credit more renewable fuel use and energy efficiency.

According to figures released Wednesday, electric power plants spewed 141 million tons of carbon dioxide in April, the lowest for any month since April 1988. The power plants are responsible for about one-third of the country's heat-trapping emissions.

Federal analysts predict that this year the amount of electricity from natural gas will increase 3 percent compared to last year while the power from coal will go down 10 percent.