There are a number of ways that the US government could incentivize wise use of energy, indeed it already does so. But there are two different, though related issues moving through this thread. One is rising oil costs, and the other is pollution. The price of oil is speculation driven, but even that is related to supply, i.e. the price of oil is rising because speculators think it will be more scarce in the future, largely due to political crises. The problem is that there are ways to lower oil prices, but they aren't all necessarily environmentally sound.