The government can tax people to reduce oil consumption, or award them for trying alternative energy sources and to innovate, to reduce consumption. Carrot or stick? Sen. John McCain says if he becomes president, the federal government will be offering a $300-million prize for the best new technology with regard to cleaner automobile engines that do not use fossil fuels. Now comes The Freedom Prize Foundation and the U.S. DOE, offering $4 million --in increments of $500,000 to $1 million--to encourage innovative deployment of existing technologies in the industrial, military , school, government and community sectors. Final guidelines and application forms will be released this fall. First disbursement of money will be in 2009. Go to for more information. This program is part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. --Leslie Haines, editor in chief, Oil and Gas Investor,