Response to We the People Petition on Tesla Motors

Response to We the People Petition on Tesla Motors

For anyone that missed it....

By Dan Utech

Thanks for your We the People petition. We're excited about the next generation of transportation choices, including the kind of electric vehicles that Tesla and others have developed. These companies are taking steps to help spur innovation in the promising area of advanced batteries and electric automobiles. Vehicle electrification and other advanced technologies are vital components of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, and his commitment to addressing climate change and reducing carbon pollution, in addition to reducing our dependence on oil.

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

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.

We are already making significant progress in promoting vehicle efficiency: new vehicle fuel economy has increased by 12% since 2008 and consumers now can choose from five times more car models with a combined city/highway fuel economy of 30 mpg or more, compared to just five years ago. In December 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that model year 2012 vehicles achieved an all-time high fuel economy, after increasing seven of the last eight years.

The President has taken historic action to spur more consumer choice -- saving consumers money at the pump and reducing our dependence on oil. Here are some of the ways we're helping to encourage the future generation of energy-efficient cars:

In 2012, the Obama Administration finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. These standards will save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump and reduce U.S. oil consumption by 12 billion barrels. And this spring, we also released standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, a move that will save vehicle owners and operators an estimated $50 billion in fuel, and save a projected 530 million barrels of oil. You can learn more about that here.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has a loan program to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to create the future of transportation. In fact, Tesla's electric car won the 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year while repaying its DOE loan 9 years early and earning the taxpayers about $17 million in profit. And DOE's loan to Ford Motor Company to upgrade 13 factories across six states and to upgrade the fuel efficiency of a dozen popular vehicles has supported 33,000 jobs across the United States.
In September 2013, DOE awarded $45 million in funding for 38 new projects that to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs, and protect the environment. The 38 new projects support the goals of the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge, a public-private initiative to make EVs as affordable and convenient to own and drive as gasoline-powered vehicles within 10 years. Also as part of EV Everywhere, DOE has launched the Workplace Charging Challenge, with a goal of achieving a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging for plug-in electric vehicles in the next five years.

As these initiatives show, the Administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies.

Again, thank you for your petition.

Dan Utech is Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change

Red Sage ca us | 11. Juli 2014

Hmmm... "Blah, blah, blah... Go away kid, ya botha me...", seems to be the gist of it.

TSLAholic | 11. Juli 2014

@Red Sage


Curt Renz | 11. Juli 2014

Here is the email I sent this evening to my senators and representative in Congress:

After a year the White House response to the Tesla Motors related petition regarding direct sales of automobiles was politically timid:

The FTC did a far better job. The White House skirted the issue with no mention of the requirement to enforce the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause or the need to police anticompetitive practices and state laws. Although, they did say, “However, we understand that pre-empting current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales would require an act of Congress.”

The White House response to the petition seems to imply that they do not respect the dormant interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, i.e. one that automatically forbids states from interfering with interstate commerce. Instead they are passing the buck to you in Congress. Please initiate and pass a law that manufacturers should not be required to sell and service through franchised dealerships unless they have already contracted to do so.

This is supposedly the land of the free, as I was told when I was drafted and sent to Vietnam. I realize that Tesla Motors is based in California, but it makes a product that can free Americans from the pollution of gasoline and the Middle Eastern oil interests. It sells and services through a 21st century business model that should not be thwarted by entrenched interests. Many of its shareholders, car owners and employees reside here in Illinois. Do the right thing for them and all Americans other than parasite dealerships.

Grinnin'.VA | 12. Juli 2014


jazz4307 | 12. Juli 2014

This is the response I sent to We the People late last night.

We the People is a joke. The response was a non-response. I didn't hear anything about how the Justice Dept. is looking into potential anti-trust and anti-competition issues. What happened to the free market? We the People is a fraud and very disappointing to a lifelong democrat (who used to write 4 figure checks to democrats). Shame on you. Have a nice day. | 12. Juli 2014

Dan Utech, lackey for the (latest) failure in the White House, loves to promote that "...Cynicism is a choice..."

I don't believe We, the People, have a choice with losers like this.

Dan Utech ---- you are a loser

Dan Utech ---- you'll be remembered as a loser

Dan Utech ---- your kids will remember you as a loser who, when given the chance, did nothing to take real action to promote the ideals to which you espouse.

Dan Utech is a fraud.

Dan Utech hides behind his nice little desk.

Don't worry, Dan, someday we'll find you.

Until then, keep chugging the NASD's teat while you tweet nice little photos of your kids in front of solar panels. | 12. Juli 2014 | 12. Juli 2014

How did loser --- Dan Utech --- get his job?

Looks like Utech "inherited" it...

"Top White House energy aides exited last year, creating high-level vacancies and uncertainty about who's leading the Obama administration's energy and environmental agenda in 2014."

"Other White House energy aides include some lower-profile staffers who have risen in the ranks as longtime officials have departed. Dan Utech inherited the title of Obama's top energy and climate aide in November after longtime adviser Heather Zichal jumped ship."

"He's been on Obama's energy staff since 2010, when he moved over to work as Zichal's deputy. He previously guided former Energy Secretary Steven Chu through his confirmation, worked as his senior adviser and helped to craft a failed climate bill as an aide to then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.)."

Can we please elect a goat or a horse to be the next POTUS --- we can do no worse.

GeekEV | 12. Juli 2014

While it may be true that changing things require an act of congress, they could at least indicate that they plan to initiate such discussions with them. Granted, in the current political climate it's unlikely congress will do anything the president wants - but you could at least show you tried.

Grinnin'.VA | 14. Juli 2014

@GeekEV | JULY 12, 2014 wrote:

"While it may be true that changing things require an act of congress, they could at least indicate that they plan to initiate such discussions with them."

Are you not aware of how Obama's discussions with congressional leaders have gone?

Ron :)

Red Sage ca us | 14. Juli 2014

Making Law out of Nothing at All...

"Blah, blah, blah... Go away kid, ya botha me... Hey! [WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT] I ordered this on rye!"

Apparently the White House Staff don't think there is anything they can do without risking further accusations that the POTUS is using the Oval Office as a Throne. Already multiple SCOTUS decisions have gone against them -- when they shouldn't have. It would really suck if they ended up losing this one too.

Besides, everything seems to be working out for Tesla Motors anyway. Slowly, sure... But they'll be fine. It may not be fair, but it is 'business as usual', and Tesla themselves didn't ask for any special treatment by the feds.

So, until or unless someone digs in their heels and expressly says they absolutely will not allow Tesla to sell AND they will not allow their Citizens to buy, the White House and the FTC will stay out of it.

The POTUS and Tesla Motors...

jai9001 inquired, "How exactly does the President solve this problem?"

Well, I am not the President of the United States of America. Quite frankly, I don't want that job. I have repeatedly warned people that if I were in charge, it would be... bad.

I would be an honest, straightforward, direct, to-the-point, unrepentant, bloodthirsty, ironfisted, dictator.

So, I am not exactly qualified to tell you what the POTUS should, or could, do to help Tesla Motors. I can only tell you what I would do. It isn't too pretty.

I'd sit down and have a long talk with Elon Musk. I'd find out what his position is on this whole Dealership concept. I would learn directly from him if it is entirely beyond the realm of possibility that he might use 'independent franchised dealerships' for his distribution model. I would want to know his entire thought process, inside and out, from beginning to end.

I would also want to know if he honestly thought I could help. I wouldn't want my own reputation to sully his, or that of his company unduly. If he felt I would be of assistance, the two of us would work together to hammer out a plan that would be mutually beneficial.

I figure I'd likely start with a friendly phone call to each of the Governors of every State in the Union. I'd explain how disappointed I was that there seemed to be so many roadblocks in the way of securing the type of technological innovation, in the advancement of clean energy, and free capitalist marketplace, devoid of monopolistic infringement on the rights of small business, I had campaigned for on my way to office. I would note in particular my strong feelings toward Tesla Motors and hint at what a shame it would be if the powers of the FTC had to be brought to bear to resolve the issues they face. I'd confirm their e-mail address and let them know I was sending them some things to look over, and let them know I'd be calling back within the week to get their feedback.

I would make similar calls to every US Senator. And the Speaker of the House of Representatives. And the party leaders in every state legislature. And the mayors of every major city that experienced daily gridlock and smog.

I'd make a point of mentioning this issue every week during my weekly radio/video address to the nation. I would go on major late night talk shows and mention the same. On visits to elementary and middle schools I'd be sure to bring up the subject of electric cars to all the kids in science class.

In the meantime, I would have the FBI doing an in-depth search for dirt on all the above mentioned elected officials. They would look into... everything. Bribes, payoffs, kickbacks, drug abuse, prostitution, infidelity... You name it.

On the followup phone call I'd apologize for taking so long to get back to them. I'd note how I've been oh, so, very busy. But I have a little time and I'd like to know how you feel about what I sent you. If they are on board, good. If not, then when signing off I'd kindly ask how someone was doing, then remember oh, wait... That isn't your wife/husband is it? I must be thinking of someone else. Anyway, you take care now...

The FTC would be examining every single document that related to the issue in each state. They would identify every clause and critical statement that might be seen as supporting monopolistic tendencies and a restriction of choice. They would work with a cadre of Constitutional lawyers who would help them determine the weakest, and strongest, links within every rule, regulation, restriction, or law that prevented direct sales by an automobile manufacturer to the public at large.

In the months prior to midterm elections, while I was out stomping for those in my party across the nation, I'd make sure to stop by the Governor's office for a chat. I would have a few documents with me.
One would be proposed legislation that his office could offer for approval by his State Legislature.
One would be a preliminary draft of the suit that would be brought in Federal Court by the FTC -- if the legislation were not put through for a successful vote, and signed before the end of the current session.
One would be a dossier of... a confidential personal nature... filled with information that it would be a real shame if it accidentally landed in the hands of an opponent. Somehow.
And then I'd do the same with everyone else I wanted to fall in line. Like I said, it wouldn't be pretty. Aren't you glad I'm not POTUS?

centralvalley | 14. Juli 2014

Alas, Red Sage, you would be impeached.

GeekEV | 15. Juli 2014

@Grinnin - It seems you deliberately left out my second sentence where I acknowledge that very fact...

holidayday | 15. Juli 2014

This response is pretty much what I expected, although I really expected it 9-10 months ago.

Grinnin'.VA | 15. Juli 2014

@GeekEV | JULY 15, 2014

I quoted the part of your post that I thought was relevant to the question of what the POTUS could/should do that would be effective in dealing the problem.

Your 2nd sentence does acknowledge that what you recommend wouldn't effectively deal with the problem.

Given the laser focus of Obama's opponents on DENOUNCING whatever initiatives that he proposes, I think your recommendation would worsen our national political stalemate.

Ron :)

P.S. In my posts I try to focus on the main issues; almost always, I quote only the most relevant parts of posts by others. Yes, I do this quite deliberately. But that doesn't reflect or imply malice on my part. In the case of this thread, I've seen lots of expressions of disappointment with Obama with virtually no sensible suggestions of how he could effectively deal with the problem. I don't know any way for Obama to fix this. If you have constructive ideas on how to solve this problelm, I'd sure like to hear them.

Dramsey | 16. Juli 2014

Best commentary I've seen:

White House answers Tesla direct sales petition with a brief "No" and several paragraphs of self-congratulatory text.

Haeze | 17. Juli 2014

"All of us at the White House have dilligently worked on this issue brought to us through your We the People Petition for the past 9 months. We want you to know that we left no stone unturned in our search for a way to assist the American Public in this matter, even going so far as to open a book at one point, and mention it in-passing to someone who looked important as they ate their lunch in the cafeteria. Unfortunately, with all the time and effort we have expended, and after exhaustive research utilizing all assets available to us, we have come to the determination that laws are made by Congress. At this point we have absolutely no control over anything relating to your issue and we must ask that you address Congress directly to get your issue remedied. We are sorry for the delay in our response, as it took this long for us to realise that only Congress can make laws. For your trouble we have included a coupon for a free ice cream at your local McDonalds (with purchase of any qualifying value meal). We hope this can help assuage your needs in these difficult times, and that its flavor can help remind you that we, the White House staff, are here to help you, the people we serve, in any way we can."

gdubcobra1 | 17. Juli 2014

The congress doesn't make laws. The super rich does which owns big oil, auto companies, and banks. Don't think for a second that they will allow Tesla to get any support.