Oilmen and homeowners alike will be watching Ronald Reagan's early policies on oil price decontrol. All controls on US-produced oil end Oct. 1, 1981. But Reagan has promised to drop controls even sooner in hopes of boosting US output.
Just one problem: Ending controls could almost immediately add 7-8 cents to the price of gasoline and home heating oil. That's not the kind of news likely to make the new President popular with chilly homeowners in midwinter.
Instead of ending oil price controls, some aides suggest Reagan should speed up the decontrol of natural gas. Prices on gas are being phased out by 1985. But many petroleum experts now say that more rapid decontrol could speed discovery of substantial quantities of gas -- and give the US more independence from foreign oil.m