SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- California is planning the next stage of clean-car standards even as President Obama announces federal plans based on the state's model, its top climate change official said on Tuesday.
Obama on Tuesday set 2016 mileage and carbon emissions goals for U.S. fleets, which will be codified by the Department of Transportation and the EPA.
"California will be immediately getting to work on what the standards should be for beyond 2016," Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board, said in a telephone interview. She expects "a much more stringent standard."
Other state plans for vehicle emissions, from caps on pollution by big rig diesel trucks to requirements that gasoline and other providers cut the amount of carbon in their fuel, are still under way, despite the state's agreement to work with the federal government on car emissions.
"It doesn't signal any kind of flagging interest on the part of California in being part of a transformation of the auto fleet to something much more efficient than what it is today," Nichols said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation will set a 35.5 miles per gallon fleet average target. The EPA will set a fleet goal of tailpipe emissions of 250 grams of carbon per mile traveled by 2016, matching the California goal, but ramping up at a slower rate, said Nichols.
The Detroit 3 had average fuel efficiency of 24-25 miles per gallon in 2007, while carbon emissions for 2009-model vehicles range from a low of 135 grams per mile for the Toyota Prius to 400 and higher for SUVs, according to California.