NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Let's be clear on something: It's not a conspiracy theory. A good portion of the pain that consumers are feeling at the gas pump is indeed caused by speculators. This isn't some half-baked Internet meme, or somebody babbling on a Yahoo message board. It's a fact.Just look at this study by the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which found that speculation "played a significant role in the oil price increase between 2004 and 2008 and its subsequent collapse." Last year, a Goldman Sachs study found that every 10 million contracts traded by speculators adds 10 cents to the price of a barrel of oil. That translates to as much as $23 a barrel, when you consider that speculative futures contracts have been the equivalent of 230 million barrels of oil.