Coal from the Appalachian region has really fallen out of favor in the United States. So much so that Wyoming mines accounted for nine out of the 10 top producing mines in 2012. This should come as no surprise to coal investors since the Powder River Basin is the most economically sensible coal to produce right now as compared to natural gas. CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX), which produces coal in Appalachia, is a perfect example of what producers in that region have been forced to do -- it has dedicated the bulk of its 2013 capital expenditures to natural gas production.

The two top mines are operated by Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) and Arch Coal (NASDAQOTH:ACIIQ), and together these mines accounted for 20% of total U.S. production. Why is this so important for these coal miners as they struggle to compete with natural gas? Tune in below. 

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of CONSOL Energy. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.