Inside Report (1)

Sixty percent of the West's imported oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. What would happen if that oil were cut off during the current crisis? Experts say that even a total loss of Persian Gulf oil wouldn't be felt immediately. But if the Iran-Iraq fighting spreads to Saudi Arabia, "we might end up with a depression on the magnitude of the 1930s," says Harvard energy specialist Robert Stobaugh.

Dr. Sevinc Carlson of Georgetown University says "there would be a tremendous amount of disruption until the American people could get adjusted." One-fourth of US imported oil comes from the Saudis.

But Dr. Carlson adds that conservation and alternative sources would help offset the loss. "There is a tremendous amount of oil still wasted in the US," she says.

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