The E-BIKE Act has been reintroduced to make room for a federal tax credit that would encourage the use of electric bicycles and help tackle the climate crisis.
Known as the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act, the bill proposes giving a refundable tax credit of up to 30% on the price of the electric bicycle or e-bike. The refundable tax credit is capped at a limit of $1,500, according to a Tuesday release about the bill’s reintroduction in Congress.
The bill is aimed at encouraging e-bike purchases, especially among low-income earners, and offers a refund on e-bikes that cost less than $8,000, according to ABC News.
“With its fully refundable tax incentives for those in the lower economic levels, the E-BIKE Act is a commonsense way to encourage the ownership of e-bikes,” said California Rep. Jimmy Panetta, who reintroduced the bill with California Reps. Mike Thompson and Adam Schiff and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Congressional Bike Caucus chairman.
“By incentivizing Americans to own and use e-bikes, we are allowing them the chance to help improve the quality of life in our communities and tackle the climate crisis in our country,” Panetta added.
The new bill allows individual filers with an income of up to $150,000 and joint filers with an income of up to $300,000 to receive the maximum possible credit.
Research suggests that carbon emissions can be significantly reduced with the help of e-bikes. A study cited in Tuesday’s press release found that carbon emissions would drop by 12% if 15% of car trips were made via e-bikes. Moreover, half of all trips in the U.S. are estimated to be less than 3 miles, and drivers travel less than 6 miles away from their homes almost 60% of the time, as per the release.
“Cycling is more than a hobby, it is an alternative method of transit that reduces emissions and helps us address the climate crisis,” Thompson explained. “Electric bike use is on the rise but e-bikes remain a financial hurdle that many cannot afford. The E-BIKE Act will make it easier for more Americans to purchase electric bikes and help us reduce emissions and improve the quality of life of our communities.”
“Transitioning to a clean energy economy includes changing the way we get around. That means transit, rail, and electric buses, cars and bikes. Our bill will make it more affordable for working people to buy an e-bike and help get cars off the road,” said Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development who has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
In Tuesday’s statement, the lawmakers also mentioned the effectiveness of an e-bike rebate program that was implemented in Denver in 2022. More than 4,700 e-bike rebates were issued by the end of the year, and nearly half of them were given to low-income residents as part of the program.
A survey also revealed that 71% of respondents said their car usage was reduced because of e-bikes, according to the press release.
“Cycling is the most efficient form of human transportation ever devised. By burning calories instead of fossil fuels, we can make our communities healthier and more livable,” said Blumenauer. “With an e-bike, anyone can be a bike commuter, but the high cost discourages too many consumers. That is why I am so excited about the E-BIKE Act. Let’s get more people off of the highway and into the bike lanes.”