Are Electric Cars Illegal? Should We Even Ask?

Electric cars are exploding in popularity and have seen exponential growth throughout the pandemic across the globe. However, buying an electric car is easier in some places than others due to local rules and regulations. So are electric cars legal to buy and own? 

Electric cars are legal to purchase and own around the globe. However, some restrictions exist due to trade laws and disputes between countries. On top of this, electric car manufacturer Tesla has limited opportunity for sales in some US states due to franchise laws that are in place. 

Keep reading to learn more about the laws and regulations surrounding different electric cars. We will look at which car manufacturers face restrictions and where these restrictions are in place. By the end of this article, you should better understand where the law stands regarding electric cars. 

Which US States Ban Tesla Sales? 

Tesla faces restrictions on sales in several US states. This is not due to issues with their products; instead, it’s about how Tesla operates as a company. They refuse to partner with local dealerships to sell and maintain their cars, prohibited in many States.

The table below shows a list of US states that franchise laws prohibit car manufacturers from selling products directly to customers. Some States also percent car manufacturers carry out repairs and maintenance directly. 

US StatesDirect Sales Repair Services 
South Carolina Prohibited Prohibited 
Alabama Prohibited Prohibited
New MexicoProhibited Prohibited 
Louisiana Prohibited Allowed 
TexasProhibited Allowed 
Nebraska Prohibited Allowed 
Oklahoma Prohibited Allowed 
West Virginia Prohibited Allowed 
Connecticut Prohibited Allowed 
Wisconsin Prohibited Allowed 

Tesla also has limited sales permission in more US states. Tesla has unrestricted or significantly restricted direct sales in about a dozen states. This impacts the company as many US consumers cannot access the products without going through a lot of hassle. 

In recent years Tesla has battled fiercely with local governments in court in an attempt to win permission to allow direct sales to customers.

Tesla claims that dealerships do not have the expertise and knowledge to sell or maintain electric vehicles effectively. As a result, they wish to carry out these services without dealerships. 

On the other hand, States introduced franchise laws to protect small businesses and middle-class incomes in communities. When Tesla sells directly to the consumer, dealerships will lose out on many profits and sales, especially as electric vehicles are getting in popularity. 

To bypass local rules and regulations, Tesla has recently opened dealerships on Native American land in New Mexico. Some states that prevent direct sales have many Native American people with their lands and laws. These people can make deals with Tesla to help them get around some of the rules. 

Check out this Youtube clip for more information:

Why Are More People Not Switching to Electric Cars?

Electric cars are still not as popular as interbank combustion engine cars, even in States and countries with no restrictions on sales. This may not seem very clear given the advantages of driving electric cars. So why are so many people reluctant to purchase an electric car? 

Here are the main reasons why people are not switching to electric cars: 

  • Lack of Charging Points 
  • Range 
  • Costs
  • Safety Concerns About Battery Fires 

See below for more detail about why consumers avoid buying an electric car and choose a classic car instead. 

Lack of Charging Points 

One of the most significant points of concern for consumers regarding electric cars is the lack of quick and accessible charging points.

Electric vehicles need to be plugged into a specific power space to charge quickly and effectively. However, these charging points are few and far between, which makes using the electric car restrictive in case you run out of power. 


The range is another concern that some motorists have regarding electric vehicles. While the range of electric cars was once a severe issue, nowadays, modern electric cars can travel hundreds of miles on a single charge.

This does not eliminate the range issues, though, as electric cars take hours to recharge when empty, whereas gas cars take seconds to refill. 


Electric cars are still pretty expensive. While they may be more efficient to run and environmentally friendly, this still does not reduce the initial money needed to buy the vehicle. As a result, many consumers can not afford to purchase new electric cars. 

Safety Concerns About Battery Fires 

Another issue raised by some consumers is regarding battery fires. The lithium used in modern electric car batteries will explode or go on fire when it comes into contact with air or water.

This had led to some vehicle fires. However, these incidents are few and far between. 


Anyway, on a relatively similar note; check out this article that I wrote called: “Can Teslas Explode?” I explore the causes, and reasons and present some stats for you.

Will Gas and Diesel Cars Be Illegal in the Future?

Electric cars are not legal everywhere; some countries have committed to ensuring that all cars sold in the future will be electric vehicles. Governments introduce several incentives and mandates that encourage consumers to purchase electric cars or internal combustion engine cars.

China, Japan, Uk, some EU member states, and US states have set out plans to make new gas and diesel cars illegal in the future. Norway leads the way in this area, with electric cars sales prohibited as soon as 2025. Other countries like Britain aim to phase out gas cars by 2040. 

Counties are phasing out and banning the sale of gas and diesel cars to reduce our fossil fuel usage. Excessive fossil fuel usage is a leading cause of climate change which could pose a severe risk to human lives shortly. However, only a few countries have announced such plans. 

EV Speedy’s Take

Tesla wishes to sell directly to customers. They believe this to be more effective and necessary to grow their business.

However, car manufacturers must sell through a dealership in several states under franchise laws. Tesla has found some ingenious workarounds to make direct sales. 

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.