The Environmental Protection Agency proposes what it calls the first comprehensive national system for reporting carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions from major sources, including automobiles.

The EPA expects the reporting requirement will cost the private sector $160 million in the first year, and $127 million annually in subsequent years. The EPA would like to make the first report due in 2011 for the 2010 calendar year, although auto makers would begin reporting for the ‘11 model-year.

“Our efforts to confront climate change must be guided by the best possible information,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says in a statement announcing the proposal today.

“Through this new reporting, we will have comprehensive and accurate data about the production of greenhouse gases,” Jackson says. “This is a critical step toward helping us better protect our health and environment.”

The framework for the reporting builds on work already completed by state, regional and volunteer organizations, the EPA says.

Last week, Jackson began the EPA’s reconsideration of a request from the state of California to regulate tailpipe emissions. The appeal was shot down last year, but the Obama Admin. ordered it revisited.

Combined with remarks from leading California clean air officials at the EPA’s first hearing on Thursday, the president’s directive is seen as the first steps toward a single national emissions standard.