By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Why can’t you buy a Tesla car in Texas? Or South Carolina? Or New Jersey? There’s a law on it.

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Almost every state has a law preventing car manufacturers from selling directly to the public. That’s the reason why you can’t buy a Tesla in many states because the company doesn’t have dealer franchises – they only sell cars directly.

Under franchise laws in virtually every state, you have to buy a car from a car dealer, an experience most consumers put in the category of as much fun as a tooth extraction and way more frustrating.

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When you consider that you can actually purchase a hoverboard, a glider and even a surplus British tank on line, and more relevant but also more mundane you can buy a used car on Craigslist from the current owner, one is forced to wonder: in this day and age, why do I need a dealer to buy a car?

The laws that protect car dealers were created at the time of the first mass-produced cars, in an effort to get mass produced cars to local communities efficiently and to protect the dealerships from the power of behemoth car manufacturers.

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Today, the dealership lobby is a powerful political player, one that touts consumer protection and argues that local dealerships are invested in the local community. Which may be true, but as anyone who has had the displeasure of buying a car will tell you, it might be time to rally the politicians to rethink the model.