With much fanfare, General Motors, DaimlerChrysler and others who had filed suit against California's 2001 clean air rules announced last week they were ending the litigation.
The fanfare was odd considering that the automakers and their allies had, in effect, already won the case when California air regulators voted in April for their 2003 version of clean air rules. The California Air Resources Board dropped the main offending 2001 provision, which tried to turn clean air rules into a fuel-economy standard.
But nearly everything about California's long-running attempts to dictate vehicle technologies for cleaning the state's air - led famously by the attempt to dictate that one in every 10 vehicles sold in the state by now would be a battery-powered electric - has been surreal.
The "settlement" was a minor public relations victory for the automakers, which no longer must appear dirty just because they challenged a goofy law.
California has the right to demand that vehicles produce less pollution, but how automakers choose to do that is none of the state's affair.