Business: Coming: The Crunch of '79

Iran's oil cutoff threatens higher prices and long gas lines

Iran started turning off its oil spigots last October and completely shut down exports on Dec. 26, but the resulting shortage in world crude supplies has not yet significantly hit oil-thirsty consumers. The crunch of '79, however, will soon become real enough to hurt. The last tankers loaded with Iranian crude have completed their monthlong, 11,000-mile voyage to America's East Coast ports and more and more large U.S. oil companies are cautiously beginning to husband their stockpiles to prepare for a long energy siege.

Last week two more oil majors, following the lead...

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