Elon Musk/Tesla (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Tesla is opposing the bill that passed the Mississippi House, saying it blocks direct sales of EVs.
The question of whether the state government should decide how you buy a car, whether from a local franchise or directly from the manufacturer, is before the Mississippi Senate this week.
HB 833, authored by State Rep. Trey Lamar, would essentially force Mississippians to only purchase a vehicle from franchisees, providing government protection for franchisee owned dealerships against competition from manufacturer direct sales or company owned dealerships.
How this made its way through the Mississippi House of Representatives has many free-market conservatives scratching their heads, as the Magnolia State under a decade of Republican leadership has, thus far, sought to expand competition and welcomed innovative models of new enterprise.
Yet, this bill passed the House by a vote of 111-9 and has also been passed out of the Senate Finance Committee ahead of what is a likely floor vote in the Mississippi Senate.
Douglas Carswell with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy did not mince words when asked about this bill.
“HB 833 is one of the worst bills presented to the Mississippi state legislature in years,” Carswell told Y’all Politics on Wednesday. “The bill serves zero purpose other than to protect the vested interests of car sellers by prohibiting Mississippians from buying their cars direct from the car manufacturers. This will push the price of cars up at a time when prices are rising and household incomes are under pressure.”
Carswell pointed out that the state does not require every fast food restaurant in Mississippi to operate as a franchise.
“So why insist that every car seller by a franchisee? This bill makes zero sense,” he said.
This bill will certainly impact Elon Musk’s Tesla operation. They launched a campaign against HB 833 earlier this year, saying it is a detrimental bill that would block direct sales of EVs (electric vehicles) by manufacturers.
“If passed, this bill would block Tesla and other EV manufacturers from opening more stores in Mississippi, and as a result many locals will be forced to travel out-of-state to buy the country’s top selling EVs,” Tesla’s advocacy wrote. “Mississippi should be focused on increasing revenue and jobs in the state, not stifling competition and the adoption of clean transportation.”