Published: May 21, 2010 1:13 PM EDT
Updated: May 21, 2010 1:12 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Looking to a day when cars and trucks use far

less gasoline or none at all, President Barack Obama plans to order

the government to prepare fuel efficiency standards for many years

from now and renew its focus on electric-powered vehicles.

Obama is also asking federal agencies to extend a national

fuel-efficiency program to big rig and work trucks for the first

time, beginning in 2014.

Under a presidential memorandum Obama is expected to sign

Friday, agencies would develop fuel efficiency and emissions

standards for cars and light trucks beyond 2016.

Obama last month brought out new standards for cars and light

trucks for the 2012-2016 model years that aimed at reaching a fleet

average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, nearly 10 miles per

gallon more than now.

Now additional standards will be developed further into the

future, and heavy trucks would also be regulated, something

environmentalists have long sought. A White House official

previewed the announcement on condition of anonymity because it was

not yet public.

Obama is not expected to announce specific new mileage goals,

but rather initiate steps toward developing them without help from

Congress, and call for progress on next-generation and electric


For future consumers, it could mean cars and trucks that go much

farther on a tank of gas, though perhaps with a higher upfront


For the auto industry, uniform national standards are preferable

to a state-by-state approach that has been a threat ever since

California started pushing years ago to be allowed more stringent

standards than the federal government imposes.

California agreed last year not to adopt its own standards

through 2016.

Environmental groups, meanwhile, have wanted standards for

medium- and heavy-duty work trucks. The Union of Concerned

Scientists, an environmental advocacy group, said these large

trucks represent only 4 percent of all vehicles on U.S. highways

but consume more than 20 percent of on-road transportation fuels.