The price of gasoline is becoming an issue in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race and in campaigns throughout the country. But a Central Missouri State University political science professor doubts lawmakers in the United States will have much control over bringing down prices – especially in the short term. Professor Shari Bax says a big reason for the higher gasoline prices is the volatile situation in the Middle East. Bax says that while there is little that can be done to bring down the prices being paid for crude oil, there are some things that can be done at home. Part of the solution, she says, is greater reliance on alternative fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. That’s something legislators do have some control over. Another plus could be found by increasing in refinery capacity in the U.S. Then, there is conservation – getting away from those gas guzzlers so many Americans love to drive.