Tesla Pits Texas vs. the Free Market


Tesla is having a lot of well-publicized problems selling its cars direct to the public. Most states mandate that cars can only be sold through independent dealers, and that’s shut Tesla out of the market in plenty of places, including ultra-free market bastions like Texas. Paul Waldman comments:

You’d think that if conservatives really believed all their rhetoric about the value of unfettered free markets, they would be all over this issue, advocating for Tesla’s side of the controversy and campaigning to break up the anti-free-enterprise car dealer oligopolies. But of course, we’re talking about Tesla, and liberals like electric cars, and therefore conservatives feel obligated to hate electric cars, so that probably won’t happen.

OK, sure, but here’s the thing: Teslas are also really expensive. That means they can only be purchased by rich people, and conservatives really like rich people. So this is a dilemma, no?

Now, I suppose that in Texas they don’t think much of any car that doesn’t run on refined hydrocarbon products, so maybe the cognitive dissonance there is less than I think. But North Carolina doesn’t have any oil. So what’s the deal there?

In any case, I want to know who’s buying these cars, anyway. Last Halloween, Marian and I decided to escape the house and eat out. In order to kill time, we walked around the shopping center we had gone to and I spied a Tesla store there. So I popped in and sat down in a Roadster. I didn’t even come close to fitting, and I’m only an inch or so taller than six feet. Am I just pickier than most tall people? Do tall people who buy Teslas slouch a lot? Or has Tesla simply abandoned the quarter of the market over six feet?

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