New Jersey has one of the dumbest laws in the country–the one that bans self-service at gas stations, which means that when refueling on the New Jersey Turnpike, it (1) takes too long and (2) often involves the sort of topping off that is wasteful and makes your car smell bad for awhile.
It now has another really dumb law–one that prevents Tesla from selling directly to its customers. If auto dealerships have value, people will use them–if they don’t, people won’t. I cannot think of a single positive externality that auto dealers produce, and they seem to be profitable largely by using the non-uniformity of cars to throw up smokescreens in front of prices (does anyone else remember how dealers tried to push useless “rustproofing” products?).
The thing that seems to horrify dealers most is a well-informed customer. Is this true of other businesses? For instance, does Apple Apple fear a well-informed customer? I don’t think so.
Disclosure: I own shares in Tesla. One of the reasons I bought the shares is that I really like the direct-to-customer business model.