Compressed Air is expensive energy.
Consider this: The amount of electrical energy required to create compressed air to run an air drill is approximately 7 times more than if an electric drill was use. Sometimes, for safety or other reasons, a compressed air drill is needed, but it is important to control leaks, and optimize the system, by selecting the correct operating pressures, filter regulators, pipe diameters, etc. - and by establishing a strong Leak Prevention Program. (Most industrial applications without a Leak Prevention Program lose 20% to 30% of their air in leaks.) For a customer paying $0.158 per kWh, leaks can be a significant cost. For instance, for a single hole, the annual costs are as follows:
Hole Diameter Annual Cost
1/16 inch (1.5mm) $ 1,652
1/8 inch (3mm) $ 6,620
1/4 inch (6 mm) $26,488
(Ref: Best Practises for Compressed Air Systems, 2nd Edition, Page 75)