(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain on Monday called for a $300 million prize to whoever can develop a battery that will "leapfrog" the abilities of current hybrid and electric cars.
Citing high oil prices, the Republican presidential candidate said he wants his offer to "deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs."
"[The prize would amount to] $1 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. -- a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency," McCain said during a town hall-style meeting at California's Fresno State University.
"In the quest for alternatives to oil, our government has thrown around enough money subsidizing special interests and excusing failure," McCain said. "From now on, we will encourage heroic efforts in engineering, and we will reward the greatest success."
McCain also called Monday for a "Clean Car Challenge" for U.S. automakers, hoping to spur them to develop and sell vehicles with no carbon emissions. The challenge would allow $5,000 tax credits to buyers of such cars, making those vehicles more appealing to consumers and thus easier to sell.
"We're going to see technology for electric-powered cars that are going to be [made cheaper] with our incentives," McCain said.