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This work presents a novel utility-based routing (UBR) algorithm for wireless ad hoc networks. In multi-hop ad hoc networks, each node may be responsible for forwarding data packets for others. Thus, some nodes may consume more energy than others, and consequently die earlier This leads to unbalanced usage of the power among the nodes, network partition, and the decrease in network lifetime. The UBR algorithm we develop takes into account not only the status of each intermediate node but also the characteristic of applications. Specifically, each application is assumed to be associated with a utility function, which maps to the quality of service (QoS). Each intermediate node sets a price to signal its willingness to participate, and then the cost for involving this intermediate node is calculated as price times the transmit power. Instead of choosing the shortest routing path, the destination node picks up the routing path that gives the maximum surplus defined as utility minus cost. Our performance study based on the PARSEC simulator shows that the proposed utility based algorithm improves the energy balance when compared with the original DSR.