A piece of legislation titled the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act is set to be introduced into Congress and if passed, would provide financial incentives for consumers to buy an electric bike.
The E-BIKE Act, led by Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), prioritizes electric bikes as an emission-less form of transportation and would make them more accessible and affordable. Similar incentives exist for consumers who purchase electric automobiles.
“E-bikes are not just a fad for a select few, they are a legitimate and practical form of transportation that can help reduce our carbon emissions,” said Congressman Panetta. “My legislation will make it easier for more people from all socio-economic levels to own e-bikes and contribute to cutting our carbon output. By incentivizing the use of electric bicycles to replace car trips through a consumer tax credit, we can not only encourage more Americans to transition to greener modes of transportation, but also help fight the climate crisis.”
If the Act is passed, it would offer individual consumers who purchase an e-bike a refundable 30% tax credit. The credit could be up to $1,500 on bikes that cost less than $8,000, allowed once per person every three years, or twice for a joint-return couple buying two e-bikes. The bill would also mandate an IRS report every two years to understand how the credit is being distributed among tax brackets so that it could be adjusted for equity if needed.
In a press release, PeopleForBikes writes that e-bikes can help people commute regardless of their age of physical ability and studies show that “across the United States, we can expect an 11 percent decrease in carbon emissions with a 15 percent increase in electric bicycle mode share.”
“Incentivizing electric bicycles makes them a competitive transportation option for more Americans and supports a national effort to lower carbon emissions,” said PeopleForBikes CEO Jenn Dice. “The E-BIKE Act rightfully positions electric bicycles as a critical part of a larger solution to climate change and equitable mobility. We’re grateful to Congressman Panetta for leading the charge in Congress.” PeopleForBikes of course supports the E-BIKE Act, as it aligns with their mission of getting more people on bicycles.
Though the bill is aimed at getting consumers interested in ditching their cars for e-bikes in order to get less pollutive vehicles on the road, the E-BIKE Act does not specify whether that the credit can be used for commuter e-bikes or e-MTBs. A “qualified electric bicycle” according to the bill means a two-wheeled vehicle, either class 1, 2, or 3, equipped with pedals which can propel the bike, a saddle, an an electric motor of less than 750 watts.
The E-BIKE Act is set to be formally introduced into the 117th Congress on Thursday, February 11. We will update this story with a link to the bill when it’s live.