White House Responds To Petition Asking For Direct-To-Consumer Tesla Sales In All 50 States

Go talk to Congress.

Go talk to Congress.

While the White House will respond to any We The People petition over 100,000 signatures, that doesn’t mean that the answer is always going to be something petitioners want to hear. And in the case of the 138,469 who wanted the administration to prevent sales from banning direct-to-consumer auto sales from companies like Tesla, that reply is pretty much, “Can’t do it, that’s Congress’ thing.”

The petition “Allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states” was filed in June 2013, and now the White House has issued its response.

As Dan Utecht, Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change puts it, yes, the White House is a fan of electric cars and “addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.”

But no, the administration isn’t going to tell states what to do:

“But as you know, laws regulating auto sales are issues that have traditionally sat with lawmakers at the state level,” Utecht writes.

The response goes on to say once again that choice is great for consumers and everything, but yeah, not telling states what to do.

“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.”

After that, it’s mainly a rundown of the White House’s track record in vehicle efficiency, with no call to action for Congress to make a change.

Coming out in support of direct-to-consumer sales like the Federal Trade Commission did is something many petition signers would likely have welcomed, and definitely a missed opportunity, Tesla says.

In a statement obtained by Jalopnik, Diarmuid O’Connell, Vice President of Corporate and Business Development for Tesla says of the response:

138,469 people signed the petition asking the White House to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states. More than a year later, at 7.30pm EST on Friday as most of America prepared for the weekend, the White House released its disappointing response to those people. Rather than seize an opportunity to promote innovation and support the first successful American car company to be started in more than a century, the White House issued a response that was even more timid than its rejection of a petition to begin construction of a Death Star. Instead of showing the sort of leadership exhibited by senior officials at the Federal Trade Commission who declared their support for consumer freedom of choice, the White House merely passed the buck to Congress and trumpeted its advances in promoting vehicle efficiency. Given the economic and environmental principles at stake, we would have hoped for stronger leadership and more action.

Sorry, The White House Won’t Help Tesla Sell Cars [Jalopnik]