The blue laws regulating car sales in the United States may be some of the most fiercely protected--by automobile sellers, no less. Fifteen states in the United States, along with a number of counties, restrict the sale of cars on Sundays. Dealerships may be open and allow customers to browse, but they can't make any purchases. Blue laws regulating car sales are some of the many weird laws still on the books in many states.
Car dealerships in the follow states adhere to blue law prohibitions, keeping automobiles from being purchased or traded on Sundays:
• New Jersey
• North Dakota
In Maryland, dealerships can sell cars in Prince George's and Howard counties but not in any other county in the state.
Car dealerships cannot operate on Saturdays or Sundays in Texas and Utah.
Why Close Car Dealerships for a Day?
As an automobile customer in the states above, you may find these restrictions to be inconvenient and puzzling. However, many blue laws restricting car sales have been created by coalitions of automobile sellers themselves.
Auto dealers in many states worked in the 1950s and 1960s to bring back blue laws restricting auto sales on Sunday as part of political and "community-oriented" initiatives to encourage citizens to use Sunday as a day of rest.
Another cited benefit of the ban includes lowered highway congestion.
Consumer advocates and car dealers who find the blue laws unconstitutional (as a potential restriction of free enterprise) have disputed the Sunday restrictions, and won several cases. In Rhode Island, in 2007, the law was repealed, with much opposition from the state's auto dealers association. Lobbyists in favor of repealing blue laws often win for one financial reason: states seek sales taxes.
Many community advocates in Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts have fought to keep blue laws regulating car sales. For many dealers, the Sunday respite from competition is valuable. The opposition of states like Colorado to repeals is partly sentimental, but primarily economic, as keeping all dealerships closed on one day a week keeps operating costs for car dealers down. Efforts to repeal the laws have failed in Maine, as well.
Many Massachusetts blue laws are also fiercely protected by community advocates.