Has it come to this in California? Is the Golden State really banning black cars from its famous freeways, as reported in various auto industry blogs – and even The Washington Post – on the grounds that they require more air conditioning to cool?

The answer, a slightly exasperated spokesman for air quality regulator the California Air Resources Board tells Reuters, is an emphatic “NO.”

CARB spokesman Stanley Young calls the story a “very unfortunate case of misinformation from the blogosphere” stemming from proposed draft regulations that have since been put on the back burner by the agency.  But even those draft regulations, he says, never contemplated a ban on black cars.

Young says the report being circulated on the Internet was released in February as the board mulled over proposals for reducing greenhouse emissions from vehicles, including one that automakers make their cars more reflective — with the goal of reducing the amount of air conditioning used by drivers and passengers and, in turn, the amount of fuel consumed and greenhouse gases produced.

He says the draft regulations would have required a more reflective glazing on car windows and paints with a higher “reflectivity.” But he adds, flatly:  “This regulation did not propose banning or restricting any colors.”