15 Jul 2014

The White House Allowed Tesla to Sell Directly in All 50 States

By Jeff John Roberts at GigaOm

A petition asking the Obama Administration “to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states” finally received an official response this week, but the answer will likely disappointment fans of the car maker.

As Jalopnik reports, the White House wrote, “as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level” — meaning that Tesla will not be getting any high-level help fighting laws that block the direct sale of cars like Tesla Motor’s electric Model S.

States like New Jersey and Texas have passed such laws, which are widely viewed as a means to protect the auto industry’s longtime franchise dealer model. This means that, while Telsa can open “experience outlets” that show off its cars, it can’t actually sell them through these outlets.

Tesla filed its petition in June 2013, and soon received more than 100,000 signatures, which is the level at which the White House is obliged to offer an official response.

While the Administration’s framing of auto sale regulation as a state issue is not surprising, Tesla boosters will be disappointed that it did not call on Congress to look at the issue.

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