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Contrary to present conjectures, our medium access control (MAC) based performance studies revealed that battery capacity may not be used as the sole means for achieving energy-based fairness and system longevity for wireless mobile multi-hop ad hoc and sensor networks. Moreover, energy conservation may be attained only if valuable MAC (and PHY) input is passed to the network layer. Hence, we propose two schemes, the objective of which is to enhance the operation of existing power-based multi-path routing protocols via cross-layer designs and optimal load assignments. Our proposed schemes, namely, energy-constrained path selection (ECPS) and energy-efficient load assignment (E2LA), employ probabilistic dynamic programming techniques and utilize cross-layer interactions between the network and MAC layers. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first time that MAC-originated information is used as the basis for achieving energy-efficient routing.