This survey presents the composition of typical U.S. fossil fuels by source location, and the extent to which the selection of coals and crude oils by geographic source can be expected to affect their composition in trace elements. The first section deals with coals produced and consumed in the United States. The second section on petroleum and shale oil includes domestic crudes and crudes from nations which export to this country. The number of elements for which statistical data on composition and geographical location exist is entirely different for crude oil and for coal. Good data and useful correlations with source locations are available for petroleum, for sulfur, nitrogen and nickel/vanadium, but not for other potential pollutants. A large body of data is available for trace elements in coal, and is examined herein. For both coal and petroleum, however, the level of trace elements present is relatively low sot that methods of sample selection and sample handling, prior to analysis, can and do present major complications in the interpretation of results.