Air compressors are used in commercial applications and industrial facilities to provide compressed air for a wide variety of processes such as the operation of pneumatic tools, pneumatic controls, and automated equipment.


DOE issued a final rule at the end of 2016 establishing the first national standards for air compressors. However, DOE delayed final publication for three years until compelled to publish by the courts. The standards were finally published in the Federal Register on January 10, 2020 and will take effect on January 10, 2025. The standards apply to rotary positive, lubricated air compressors, which are used almost exclusively in industrial facilities.

California, Colorado, Vermont, and Washington adopted the final DOE standards as state standards with a compliance date of January 1, 2022. States that adopted the standards prior to publication of the national standards can implement the standards until the 2025 federal compliance date. 


Technology options for improving the efficiency of air compressors include improved controls, improved cooling fan efficiency, high efficiency motors and variable speed drives, and inclusion of multiple-staged compressors.

Savings through what year?: 2051
Energy saved (quads): .16
CO2 savings (million metric tons): 8.2
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate: 0.4
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate: 0.2


Federal Date States
Potential Effective Date of Updated Standard 2031
Updated DOE Standard Due 2028
1st Federal Standard Effective 2025
2022 CA Standard Effective
2022 CO Standard Effective
2022 WA Standard Effective
2020 VT Standard Effective
1st Federal Standard Adopted (DOE) 2020
2019 CO Standard Adopted
2019 WA Standard Adopted
2019 CA Standard Adopted
2018 VT Standard Adopted
Test Procedure - Last Revised - Active Mode 2017
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1992

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.