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.
Interesting. So, those who choose an ebike will get a tax rebate for their purchase. Meanwhile, those with an even smaller carbon footprint (those who ride traditional bikes) are given nothing.
The fact that traditional bicycles don’t require the mining of lithium – nor the burning of fossil fuels to create the electricity used to charge the batteries – doesn’t matter because it’s currently trendy for politicians to support “e” solutions.
Sounds about right.
Good point. Regular bikes have an even smaller environmental footprint but aren’t given incentives. If it were up to some drivers, cyclists would have to PAY for the privilege through annual registrations haha.
As far as eMTBs specifically, for buyers who use them to ride to the trail, rather than driving, that could be a net positive over traditional bikes being hauled on a vehicle.
That would depend a lot on region, I suspect. For instance, an eMTB couldn’t get me to most of my trails on a charge, let alone home afterward. It would work for tooling around town and the local parks but then, so will a traditional bike.
I don’t want to come off as being against ebikes. I think they’ve done a lot to get people riding who normally wouldn’t. Then, the recent incentive checks have done so with regular bikes as well. That’s why I feel like a more universal incentive makes more sense. Heck, include skateboards, Razor scooters, running shoes, etc. Any time anyone is out riding, running, etc, they’re not in a car driving. Why not reward it all?
Yeah, it’s hard to say that it would be much of an incentive for a lot of people who are already vehicle-less. For most, it’s a no-brainer to buy a car for commuting before a bike, especially if you have a family to take care of. Seems like the people would act on the incentives are those who already have a vehicle and hip to the new tech – as well as someone who can see themselves as a cyclist, and comfortable commuting to work.
Absolutely. If you have no transportation and $1000+ to spend, you’re looking at a completely different part of Craigslist. Priorities go to the mode of transportation that can haul a month’s worth of groceries and get you to work in inclement weather. Ebikes (just like their leg-powered brethren) are largely supplemental.
Hard core, only own a bike, do-or-die, ride in all conditions riders will always exist…and will always be the minority. Regular folks just want to enjoy good weather, a lower fuel bill and maybe get some exercise. Incentives to go for a ride over going for a drive with the windows down should be the priority (if any are to exist at all). It should have nothing to do with what type of bike you want to ride.
Huh. I seriously LOL’d when I read this. Oregon, the same state that passed a bicycle excise tax in 2018 (https://www.oregon.gov/dor/programs/businesses/Pages/Bicycle-excise-tax.aspx) is supporting a bill for a tax credit.
I second the other comments that regular cyclists aren’t being recognized for walking or commuting. I commute to work near DC, where government employees are reimbursed for commuting via public transportation rather than via auto. The program doesn’t apply to cyclists.
So, this bill incentivizes selling e-bikes, not necessarily riding them. Correlation doesn’t mean causation.
Great article Matt…thanks!
Am wanting to sell my car and get a cargo e-bike. What happens if someone wants to buy a bike that is more than $8k? Would they not be eligible for the credit?
It sounds to me like there would be no credit for bikes that cost more than $8,000. The $1,500 max credit is 30% of just $5,000, which means bikes that cost $5-8K get the max credit, rather than 30% of the cost of the bike.