The White House has finally responded to a petition about Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s direct to consumer sales model. It’s been about a year since that petition reached the number of signatures required to warrant a response from the White House. Apparently the Obama administration felt it needed a lot of time to come up with its response.
Consumers support Tesla
The petition calls for the White House to “allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states.” It was created on June 5, 2013 and quickly rose in popularity on the White House petition website. White House advisors finally posted a response to it on Friday.
Obama administration spokesperson Dan Ultech said that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and others have spurred innovation in electric cars and that electric cars are “vital components of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.” However, he also said that laws about auto sales have “traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level.” He added that it would take an act of Congress in order to preempt current state laws regarding direct to consumer auto sales.
And that’s really it for the Tesla portion of the response. The rest of it focused on the Obama administration’s initiatives for improving vehicle efficiency, spurring more choices for consumers, and reducing gas prices.
Tesla supporters respond
In the comments, supporters of Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) said states shouldn’t be able to keep the automaker from selling directly to consumers. They added that it’s unfair for state legislators to protect auto dealers from competition, which Tesla provides, and that competition is good for consumers.
It’s pretty typical for the White House to avoid making any kind of bold statement regarding hot topics like this one. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has ignited the ire of auto dealers in multiple states. However, the automaker has won some battles in some states. Also the Federal Trade Commission wrote in support of Tesla’s direct to consumer sales model, saying that it promotes competition.
The White House did say that it would require an act of Congress to change how auto sales laws are handled, potentially leaving it open for lawmakers at the federal level to wade into the fray. Whether or not they will though, is an entirely different question. Indeed, if Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) continues to be successful in convincing lawmakers at the state level, federal lawmakers may not need to take up the issue.