Matt Yglesias points to some nonsense going on in New York, where for some reason that I’m sure has nothing to do with the traditional automobile industry’s lobbying, legislators have proposed legislation requiring auto manufacturers to sell their cars through an in-state dealership/storefront. Of course, for innovative companies like Tesla that sell their vehicles direct to customers using something called an “inter-net”, this would increase the cost of selling vehicles. Maybe those companies would just forego profits and eat the cost, but maybe they would pass this cost on to consumers.
As Yglesias notes, the proponents pushing this scheme (including, believe it or not, the Eastern New York Coalition of Auto Dealers) argue both that the bill was designed to protect consumers (because apparently human beings cannot be trusted to decide on a purchase without an in-state storefront) and that allowing direct sales creates an “unfair advantage” (which hurts, if I’d have to guess, auto dealers in eastern New York). Obviously this has nothing to do with the former and everything to do with the latter – but what’s “unfair” about coming up with a more efficient business model? The bill should languish, wither, and die.