In recent years, federal, state and local authorities have spent billions subsidizing alternative-energy vehicles and encouraging the use of greener means of transportation. So when an automaker starts to sell innovative, environmentally friendly vehicles, why would state governments try to hobble it? The answer: special interest politics.
This month, we Missourians witnessed a scene that has recently played out in several other states. Following the lead of similar organizations in New Jersey, Texas and Ohio, Missouri’s automobile dealer association convinced some supportive and supported politicians to push for rules prohibiting carmakers from operating their own retail outlets and selling directly to Missouri consumers.
One notable carmaker — Tesla — currently engages in the sort of direct distribution that would be forbidden. Auto dealers fear that if Tesla is allowed to sell its electric cars through its own retail outlets, other carmakers may try to do the same. The dealers therefore want the government to force Tesla to utilize the dealers’ services.
But neither the car dealers nor politicians are in a good position to dictate how Teslas are sold to consumers. Tesla alone should make that decision….