Aside from other issues, setting up Tesla’s new global headquarters in Texas was always weird since Texas has always had anti-Tesla laws in place that prevent easy, convenient in-store sales for Tesla buyers. Sure, you can buy online and have a Tesla shipped to Texas, but you can’t go into a Tesla store, test drive a car, and buy one there. Now, however, as a kind of backhanded “thanks” to Tesla building its giant new headquarters in Texas, the state is excluding the young automaker from its EV rebate program.
The Texas Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Incentive Program “provides rebates statewide to persons who purchase or lease an eligible new light-duty motor vehicle powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), or hydrogen fuel cell or other electric drive (plug-in or plug-in hybrid).” That sounds great! But there’s a twist in the eligibility that is just enough to exclude new star automaker Tesla. (Elon won’t mind, right?)
Don’t believe me? You can go to the Eligible Vehicles List yourself and see that not a single Tesla vehicle is on there. You can get a rebate if you buy or lease a Volkswagen ID.4, Volkswagen e-Golf, Porsche Taycan, Nissan LEAF, Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Kona EV, Hyundai EV6, Jaguar I-PACE, Ford Mustang Mach-E, other pure electric vehicles, a plugin hybrid, and even several non-electric cars, like the Dodge Ram 2500 (don’t ask). However, you can’t buy a Tesla and get such a rebate.
If you look through the eligibility requirements, it’s not immediately clear why Tesla vehicles aren’t included. There’s no “Thou shalt not be a Tesla” clause and there is no exclusion for vehicles that include Beach Buggy in the infotainment system. Nope, but there is this line: “Only vehicles offered for sale or lease in Texas are eligible for this rebate grant.” Of course, plenty of Texans buy Teslas, and we even have one of those buyers on our writing team (hi, Vijay), but Tesla vehicles aren’t technically for sale or lease in Texas since no auto dealers in Texas sell new Teslas — and that’s the only way you’re legally allowed to buy a car in the state.
I know, I know, you are shocked — shocked — that in the Lone Star State, the land of the freeyou are not free to buy the most popular electric car on the planet and get an EV rebate on it. How could such a “free” state make such a mistake? But, alas, all may not be what it seems on the surface of political propaganda.
In all seriousness, Texas is not a freedom-loving state. It is a corrupt state in which Big Money creates laws that let Big Money uses to make more money. Rather rich auto dealers and auto dealer associations don’t want pesky little Tesla disrupting their market. Oil companies don’t either, for that matter. Republican politicians in Texas get away with all manner of crimes and anti-freedom, anti-democracy policies because — frankly — they can. They scratch their buddies’ backs, their buddies donate to their re-election campaigns, and voters don’t notice since they’re too busy glued to Faux News, Parler (the social media app for insurrectionists and coup-friendly anti-Americans) , and dumb-pill Twitter.
Will Tesla lovers ever be able to walk into a Tesla store and buy a car, and then benefit from the same EV rebate that other electric car buyers and even CNG vehicle buyers get to bank? Who knows? Texas is a weird place, and Elon Musk seems far too naive and misinformed politically to outfox the auto dealer associations or oil giants. Heck, he didn’t even get Texas to allow Tesla sales in the state before committing to building Tesla’s biggest factory in the world within its borders. Furthermore, while they may be avoiding income taxes, one day Tesla employees and perhaps the company itself will discover that property taxes are more than make up for the savings they get there.
To think that Republican Texas politicians just want people to be free to do they want is about as insightful as believing that Homer Simpson just wants more time off from work so that he can spend those extra hours in the library educating himself about the nuances and anything mysteries of the world.
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