Crude oil has dominated the energylandscape for the past several decades,replacing coal at the top of the heap,because oil is easier to transport and burnscleaner than coal. But now because of thesoaring price of oil, coal has reemerged asa feasible energy alternative, attracting theinterest of many physician-investors.According to , the United Stateshas a good grip on the coal industry, with27% of the world's reserves. In fact, UScoal stocks have outperformed the majoroil companies over the past 2 years. Froman investment perspective, coal is more ofa long-term prospect than a short-termmoneymaker, as coal companies mainlywork off of long-term contracts. If youwant to invest in this fossil fuel, you won'tbe able to find it in natural-resourcesmutual funds or exchange-traded funds.Rather, you'll need to look into individualcoal stocks. recommends suchcoal producers as Peabody Energy andConsol Energy.