"Trump Administration Wants Phase-In Of U.N. Rules On Maritime Fuel"

"WASHINGTON - The Trump administration wants pollution limits on ship fuels that a United Nations maritime agency will implement in 2020 to be phased in to protect consumers from any price spikes in heating and trucking fuels, a White House spokesman said on Friday.

Under the International Maritime Organization rule, ships cannot use fuels with more than 0.5 percent of sulfur, compared with 3.5 percent now, unless equipped with so-called scrubbers limiting the emissions. The rule will be enforced through fines levied by IMO member states.

The IMO said last month it would not delay implementation after some shipping groups as well as the Bahamas, Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands supported a phased-in implementation of the rules.

If refiners are unprepared for the changes, some analysts have said, prices for related fuels, such as diesel and heating oil, could rise. A spike in fuel prices ahead of the 2020 elections would be a political risk for Trump."

Timothy Gardner and Ron Bossou report for Reuters October 19, 2018.

Source: Reuters, 10/22/2018