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An ad hoc network is a wireless network that can be formed on the fly without the support of an underlying infrastructure. A salient feature of such a network is that each node acts as router to facilitate communication among the nodes. Devices are mostly battery-operated, and therefore power consumption is a major concern for ad hoc networks. Routing algorithms that allow for longer battery life is beneficial to network operation. We propose a new routing algorithm called Maximum Path Lifetime Routing (MPLR). It takes into account the distance between nodes and the remaining battery power of each node as the basis for path selection. First, the mathematical formula of energy cost is derived and used to describe the algorithm. Then we compare MPLR and several other routing protocols through simulation. Analysis of the path lifetime based on battery discharge model is investigated. The results show that MPLR has the lowest energy cost and highest path lifetime among the methods examined.