It's campaign season, so we should not be surprised to see a politician who's facing re-election attempting to mine a reliably rich vein of consumer resentment for potential votes.

But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein does raise a good point about gasoline prices.

Feinstein, D-Calif., wants Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz to investigate the sudden spike in California pump prices. She noted in the letter to Leibowitz that despite the Aug. 6 fire at Chevron's Richmond Refinery, supplies are up.

"Chevron's own spokeswoman Heather Kulp ... said 'There is an excess of gas on the West Coast.' If the spike in California's gasoline prices cannot be explained by supply and demand fundamentals, I believe it is vitally important that the Federal Trade Commission look into this matter expeditiously," Feinstein wrote.

Politicians have been raising the spectre of oil companies' dubious dealings at least since Sen. Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette convened Senate hearings in 1923 to get to the bottom of recent prices increases that he feared would soon have Americans paying more than $1 a gallon.

But where there's gasoline vapors there's sometimes fire. Report back on this, FTC.