Do you believe in doing your part to reduce climate change? Do you suffer from asthma? If so, too bad you live in Connecticut – you almost can’t buy an electric vehicle here. Connecticut is one of only six states to bar direct sales by automobile manufacturers.

Auto Dealers are lobbying to prevent Tesla and other EV manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers. Interestingly, I know a guy who is a very successful entrepreneur. After he sold his first start-up, he decided he wanted to earn even more money so he could comfortably afford a private jet. In researching private jet ownership, he discovered that the most frequent profession of private jet owners is owning a car dealership. So, he bought two dealerships, sold his house in Greenwich and moved to Florida – smart guy.

In 2020 Tesla represented 80% of EV sales. You can’t buy a modern electric vehicle in Connecticut unless you want a Nissan Leaf or a Chevy Volt. Maybe next year you will be able to buy a Ford Mustang EV. Modern electric vehicle makers, such a Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, etc. make reliable products that do not require the service levels of gasoline powered automobiles. Thus, they have decided to sell their cars directly to consumers.

A 2020 DEEP study pointed out the importance of EVs to the health and wellbeing of Connecticut’s residents:

  • Connecticut suffers from some of the worst air quality in the country, especially along heavily-traveled transportation corridors where criteria air pollutants are most densely concentrated. Poor air quality exposure exacerbates acute and chronic respiratory problems such as asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and other lung diseases. A recent national report, Asthma Capitals 2019, ranked New Haven (#11) and Hartford (#13) among the 100 largest U.S. cities where it is most challenging to live with asthma.
  • Connecticut’s transportation sector is also responsible for 38.1 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • Connecticut has committed to an ambitious goal of putting 125,000 to 150,000 EVs on the road by 2025.
  • Electric vehicles provide many benefits to consumers, including lower maintenance costs and often lower fuel costs.
  • EVs account for only 2 percent of annual [vehicle] sales.

As of January 1,  Connecticut had only 13,800 registered EVs, with about 4,400 registering each year. How on earth will we meet DEEP’s target of 125,000 – 150,000 EVs by 2025 at that pace, especially with auto dealers blocking sales of the most popular and innovative EVs through lobbying in Hartford?

It is time for the legislature to open the Connecticut automobile market to competition and allow our residents to buy whatever vehicle best suits their needs, and the needs of our planet, rather than line the pockets of auto dealers.

Support SB 127 or similar legislation that allows all automobile manufactures to sell cars in any way they choose. Pass it this session! While we are discussing the costs and benefits of The New Green Deal, let’s at least get rid of Connecticut’s Old Brown Deal.

James Miller, a resident of Lyme, is a former investment banker .

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