After a summer that’s been relatively easy on the wallet, gas prices are marching higher again.

The Lundberg Survey finds the national average for a gallon of gas at $3.69, an increase of 36 cents since July 1. With the political conventions now less than two weeks away, voters are asking what the candidates are pledging to do to keep gas prices from spiking again and slowing down the economic recovery.

“Let’s produce more oil and gas,” President Obama said, “but let’s also produce more bio fuels. Let’s produce more efficient cars.”

“We need to keep our eye on the prize, the big energy picture,” Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Action Fund said. “We are just not going to be able to power a 21st century economy with a 20th century energy system.”

The push to develop alternative energies has led to some spectacular flops and failures – all with tax dollars on the line. The administration touted a $535 million loan to the solar company Solyndra, which promptly went bankrupt, and it offered generous tax breaks to consumers to buy the battery-powered Chevy Volt, which has yet to catch on.

John Felmy of the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, says the administration shouldn’t be picking winners and losers with taxpayer money.