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Impact of environmental proposals
You've supported climate-change legislation that would essentially put a penalty price on the use of fossil fuel in order to encourage clean energy. Should consumers and businesses be prepared to pay more for gasoline and electricity?

McCain Long term I do not believe we will ever see the price of a barrel of oil come down permanently or dramatically. Even though this very high price - and it may go higher - has some artificiality associated with it (i.e., speculation), the fundamental fact is that there is greater and greater demand for what is fundamentally a finite resource.

So that argues for nuclear power, for wind, tide, solar and innovative technologies such as batteries that will take a car a hundred miles before we have to plug it in.

Obama In the short term, adapting to this new energy economy is going to carry some costs. Well, I would never underestimate the power of American innovation. One example: When acid rain came up several decades ago and a decision was made to retrofit power plants to stop emitting as much sulfur dioxide, industry said this is going to be a huge drag on the economy. We actually did it much faster and much cheaper than anybody had anticipated.

The key is to make sure that if there are any short-term spikes in energy that we protect those who can least afford it. It's a mistake to do it artificially, for example, by suspending the gas tax. That is a short-term gimmick.

NEXT: U.S. role in the global economy
Last updated June 25 2008: 12:02 PM ET
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