The development of lightweight, portable GC instrumentation is handicapped by the need for compressed carrier gas to drive the separation. The use of air as carrier gas eliminates the need for compressed gas tanks. If a vacuum pump is used to pull carrier gas and injected samples through the column, atmospheric pressure air can be used as carrier gas. Vacuum outlet operation also improves performance for high-speed separations by reducing detector dead time and by shifting optimal carrier gas velocity to higher values. Under vacuum outlet conditions using atmospheric pressure air as carrier gas, a 6-m-long, 0.25-mm-i.d. capillary column can generate approximately 12,500 theoretical plates, and a 12-m-long column can generate approximately 44,000 plates but with a 3-4-fold increase in separation time. The principal issues in column selection for high-speed GC with air as a carrier gas are efficiency and stability. Several bonded and nonbonded stationary phases were evaluated for use with air as carrier gas in the analysis of volatile organic compounds of interest in airmonitoring applications. These include dimethylpolysiloxane, 50% phenyl-50% methyl polysiloxane, 50% cycanopropylphenyl-50% methyl polysiloxane, trifluoropropyl polysiloxane, poly(ethylene glycol), and dicyanoallyl polysiloxane (nonbonded). The dimethyl polysiloxane and the trifluoropropyl polysiloxane columns showed good efficiency and no significant deterioration after 5 days of continuous operation with air as carrier gas. The 50% phenyl-50% methyl polysiloxane and the 50% cycanopropylphenyl-50% methyl polysiloxane columns showed poorer efficiency, and the poly(ethylene glycol) and dicyanoallyl polysiloxane columns showed excessive deterioration in air.