Last week, NYLCV President Julie Tighe spoke at a press conference in support of legislation to lift New York’s artificial cap on the number of manufacturer-owned zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) dealerships. New York is one of a handful of states that restricts car sales to franchised dealerships that are not owned or operated by car manufacturers, with the exception of just five dealerships statewide that are owned and operated by Tesla. NYLCV is supporting legislation that would lift this cap, enabling new ZEV manufacturers to enter the New York market.
Achieving the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s (CLCPA) goal of economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 will require New York to almost completely decarbonize our transportation sector, which currently accounts for approximately 36% of our total greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, we are not making enough progress in getting enough ZEVs on the road to meet this target, with just 75,000 ZEVs on the road statewide. Direct sales of ZEVs can help. Some states allow direct sales with no cap on the number of manufacturer-owned dealership locations, while others, like New York, allow direct sales with caps of varying strictness, and still others don’t allow direct sales at all. This natural experiment provides an opportunity to study the impact of direct sales on ZEV adoption, and the numbers are very clear. ZEVs have an average market share of 3.4% in states that do not restrict direct sales compared to 1.3% in states that do.
Allowing ZEV companies to sell directly to customers increases consumer choice, keeps sales tax and jobs in state, and increases the number of ZEVs available for sale. That’s why NYLCV supports this legislation, along with the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy – New York, and others. There is less than a month left in the legislative session, and passing legislation allowing the direct sale of ZEVs and establishing a clean fuel standard would cement 2021 as one of the best sessions in recent memory for clean transportation.