Bill to Ban EV Direct Sales is Anti-Free Market and Bad Policy

By Tyler B. Jones
January 18, 2023

The free market is defined as unrestricted competition between private businesses. 

A large majority of Mississippians would claim to be free-market driven, supporting new companies or enterprises coming into the state. More business boosts the economy, right? In a free-market society, we should be jumping at the idea of new companies bringing in additional jobs, innovation and dollars. One would think. 

A new bill has emerged in the Mississippi Legislature that would turn away one of the fastest-growing markets in America. House Bill 401 revises certain provisions of the Mississippi Motor Vehicle Commission Law in regard to how manufacturers sell their vehicles. 

Currently, a car manufacturer is permitted to obtain a dealership license and sell the vehicles right where they’re made. This bill would change that. 

HB 401 prohibits manufacturers from personally engaging in business or being licensed as motor vehicle dealers within the state. This is a direct target to electric vehicle manufacturers because EV companies almost always sell their vehicles through their manufacturers, not needing dealerships to do the transactions. 

While these other auto manufacturers do use dealerships to sell their cars, the majority of acquired revenue generated from these dealerships comes from maintenance services. EV companies don’t need these services because electric cars don’t require oil changes or transmission upkeep, therefore not needing the same kind of dealerships that other auto manufacturers demand. 

The dealerships act as a middleman, essentially costing the consumer more money in the end. The EV model of doing business cuts out that middleman by selling directly to the buyer, saving that buyer time and money. 

If this passes, an actual law would dictate who could create jobs and investments in our state. Instead of bringing this booming industry into Mississippi, EV companies will choose to build their manufacturing sites elsewhere, such as Louisiana or Tennessee. We’re pushing jobs and investments across state lines. Mississippians who want to buy a Tesla or Lucid car will still buy one, but instead of the money being spent in Mississippi, it will be going to neighboring states who don’t have these ridiculous constraints. 

Other industries aren’t subjected to such regulations. For example, we have an Apple Store in Mississippi which is allowed to sell iPhones, MacBooks and other products directly from the store. If Apple had to adhere to the same rules that this proposed bill would enforce, then only places such as Best Buy or C Spire could sell these products rather than the prime manufacturer- Apple. 

The point of living in a free-market society is allowing the customer to choose how he or she wants to buy their vehicle. If they want to go through a third-party franchise, that’s fine. If they would rather buy straight from a manufacturer, that’s also fine. That should be one’s own prerogative. 

The government should never be involved in how a business operates. Choices and individual liberty are what drives the free market, not government oversight. 

HB 401 will considerably hurt the free market and Mississippians. Businesses will go elsewhere, along with their jobs and commerce. We don’t want to be kicking ourselves down the line for enacting bad policy. 

This is more than just electric vehicles and car manufacturers. What kind of Mississippi do we want to live in? One where the government tells us how to live and operate, imposed by vested interests? Or one where we make our own financial choices so that investments can be made to deliver the greatest prosperity and opportunity to the people of the Magnolia State. 


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