The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday granted California's request to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks as the Obama administration implements measures to increase fuel efficiency and reduce the impact on global warming linked to these gases.

EPA finds that California continues to have a need for its motor vehicle emissions program, including the greenhouse gas standards, the agency said in a statement today.

The new standards will be effective immediately in California and 13 more states and the District of Columbia. The regulations require automakers to raise the fuel economy of cars and trucks sold in the state by 40 percent over the next seven years, to an average of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.

“This decision puts the law and science first. After review of the scientific findings, and another comprehensive round of public engagement, I have decided this is the appropriate course under the law, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement Tuesday.

California made its first request in December 2005 and was denied in March 2008 under the Presidency of George W. Bush. On January 2009, California requested the agency to review the denial.

In May, President Obama announced U.S. national fuel economy standards effective from 2012. The standards are similar to California's request and require companies to increase the fuel economy of cars and small trucks to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016, meaning a 40 percent increase in efficiency from the current standards.