Mileage on the campaign trail: $4 gas drives new focus

For the first time in decades, Americans are driving less. That’s right, our suburban, non-carpooling, SUV-loving lifestyle has finally become too expensive; and all it took was a mere doubling of gasoline prices in the last 18 months.

With energy prices rising and some economists making dire predictions, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are making energy policy a key component of their campaigns.

Today, McCain called for a lifting of federal regulations that seriously handicap offshore drilling for new energy supplies.

Obama outlined an energy plan this weekend to invest $150 billion over the nest 10 years to establish a “green energy sector” and to establish a national carbon standard on fuel that would, in theory, promote more renewable supplies.

Because cheap energy has long been a staple of American life, both campaigns are working hard to make voters believe they have the best solution for the painfully high gasoline prices.

Although commendable in the long-term, the short-term relief many Americans want and would vote for may only come by pandering to the Saudis, who are toying with the idea of increasing production to curb high prices.

We can hear the calls for "energy independence" already.