We all know what supply and demand means in our capitalistic economy; it is the prime directive. Major corporations like Big Oil, Big Tobacco, PG&E, and Wal-Mart want us to believe they are good neighbors. In times of crisis, when neighbors pull together for support, Big Oil has shown its true loyalty: profit.
The gas price spike, caused by a transformer explosion, left a refinery without power with no damage to the plant and no cost to the company, as the electricity supplier was on the hook for damages. The explosion did not affect the cost of production, only their ability to meet demand. Therefore, the equation of supply and demand allowed them to jack the price at the pump through the roof, reaping massive profits while bleeding Californians dry. Hardly neighborly.
Big corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars to convince us what nice guys they are; all Big Oil had to do was resist the temptation to gouge the motoring public for a week or two. So when they report massive profits at the end of the quarter, and you realize your hourly rate went down by a buck an hour to fill your tank, think about what nice guys they are next time you see a corporate commercial espousing their saintliness.