Over a year after 138,469 people signed a petition on the White House's "We The People" site to allow Tesla to sell its cars directly to consumers, the Obama administration has an answer: Nope.
The petition, "Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states", was filed back in June 2013, and like other We The People petitions, once it gets 100,000 signatures, the White House pledges to respond.
States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers. The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers.
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But in a response from White House spokesperson Dan Utech, the administration, unsurprisingly, passes the buck to the states:
…laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.
The rest of the response praises Tesla's innovation and the company's focus to "reduce our dependence on oil", but it completely misses the point of the petition. There's no mention of the environment, fuel consumption, or foreign oil – it's about a broken dealership model, which the White House completely disregards with self-congratulatory blathering about vehicle efficiency and the Department of Energy loans that Tesla used.
So instead, Utech gives us this:
We believe in the goal of improving consumer choice for American families, including more vehicles that provide savings at the pump for consumers. However, we understand that pre-empting current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales would require an act of Congress.
That would've been the perfect segue for the White House to urge Congress to at take up the cause, but that would've involved… effort.