Back in the early 20th century in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, there were some mines located near Quinnesec Falls that used compressed air generated by a central, waterfall powered power plant. I found some other sources that reported that there was a 2 PSI loss with transmission of the compressed air over three miles. Evidentally, it was not economical back then. However, another plant near Hazelton PA reported near zero loss of pressure over 10,860 feet! Search for Compressed Air Information by William Lawrence Saunders.
Photograph of the Hydraulic Power Company's plant at Quinnesec Falls on the Menominee River in Iron Mountain, Michigan. A pipeline supplying compressed air to the Chapin, Ludington, and Emmet mines runs from the stone compressor building.
Photograph taken near Hydraulic Falls, shows a typical log drive camp. Note the cook tent and large kettles steaming over open fires. To the right is the air pipe which served the Chapin and Ludington mines with compressed air to work machinery.
The future is today. What goes around comes around. Compressed air cars, anyone?