The Carter administration may have to delay - or even scrap - its plans for early decontrol of domestic oil prices as a result of Sunday's larger than expected price boost by the major oil exporting nations top officals said yesterday.
Although no firm decision has been made yet, key White House strategists told reporters that early decontrol "is a different question now" in the wake of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' announcement, mostly because of the impact on inflation.
"Given what OPEC has done, deregulation would have a noticeable effect on domestic inflation," one adviser told the group. "The basic arguments for decontrol still exist, but it's more difficult to make a decision for deregulation."
The administration had been planning to begin a gradual phaseout of existing price controls on oil, possibly as early as next May, when President Carter is given that option under current legislation.
Carter had promised the seven-nation economic summit last summer he would decontrol crude oil prices by 1981, when current price controls expire. However, officials said yesterday he may have to delay the start of that process.
Separately, Maurice F. Granville, chairman of Texaco Inc., called on Carter to begin lifting controls anyway, warning the nation may face significant shortages - and possible rationing - if the ceilings remain.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Board Chairman G. William Miller said the oil-price boost "increases the risk" of a domestic recession next year, but asserted he still doesn't expect one.
Miller also dismissed yesterday's initial drop in the value of the dollar as "an immediate reaction, not based upon the facts so much as on the general nervousness of the markets." However, he declined to predict its future course.
Administration officals disclosed yesterday they are revamping their economic forecast for 1979 to show substantially more inflation and some- what slower growth than they forecast before - only in part because of the OPEC rise.
Although the computations haven't been completed yet, officials described these elements as likely to appear in the official economic forecast the administration is scheduled to publish in January:
Strategists now are predicting inflation will run at about 7.25 percent - halfway between the 6.5 percent they forecast before and the 8 percent rate foreseen by private analysts.
The economy is likely to grow at about a 2.75 percent pace for 1979 as a whole - barely enough to escape the label of recession. Private economists are predicting a growth rate of between 1.5 percent and 3 percent.
The unempolyment rate will edge above 6 percent, from 5.8 percent now. Most private analysts are calling for a somewhat higher jobless rate in 1979, possibly to the 6.5 percent to 6.75 percent range.
"We are deliberately aiming for an economic slowdown, and the risks are greater on the downside than on the upside," one policymaker said yesterday. "But we hope we can avoid a technical recession" - two successive quarters or more decline in economic output.
The impact of the 14.5 percent oil-price increase was paramount on officials' minds yesterday, but the administration apparently made no major policy changes as a result of Sunday's OPEC announcement.
Miller met briefly yesterday with Treasury Secretary W. Micahel Blumenthal to discuss neither would comment on the session. There was speculation the Fed may have intervened to slow the dollar's slide.
In urging decontrol of oil prices yesterday, Texaco's Granville was adamant in advocating the start of gradual phasing out of price restraints, arguing it would be a mistake to allow the OPEC rise to interfere with long-run policy.
"We 've reached the point where we can't accept political explanations anymore," Granville said. "There is never a good time to decontrol either gasoline or crude oil. There never will be. But we have to do it."
Granville also said that while the oil industry most likely would oppose efforts to offset decontrol by limiting its increased income, he personally would prefer the use of a severance tax rather than a windfall profits tax.
And Miller urged the administration to begin some phaseout of oil-price controls, despite the new OPEC price boost. "The only logical way to receive (this)," he said, "is to face soonest a scheduled-in increase" over several years.
Miller also proposed that authorities soon consider allowing banks to pay higher rates of interest to small savers. He said present ceilings on interest rates were discouraging some potential account-holders.