Earlier this week, the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act was introduced to the US Congress by Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Congressional Bike Caucus Chairman Earl Blumenauer. The Act, according to Congressman Panetta’s public press release, would create a 30 per cent consumer tax credit for anyone purchasing an electric bike — with overall cost capped at $8,000 — in a bid to make zero-emissions travel more affordable and accessible.
The E-BIKE Act tax incentive covers 30 per cent of the e-bike’s cost, up to the value of $1,500, and would either offset the purchaser’s taxes owed or be added to their tax refund for the year in which it was purchased.
Congressman Panetta is currently looking for additional sponsors for the bill, stating, “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.
“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.”
The formulation of the E-BIKE Act drew upon 2020 research from North America and Europe, which highlighted the impact of increased e-bike travel on carbon emissions. According to a study published in the Transport and Environment journal last year, carbon emissions from passenger transportation in North America could be reduced by 12 per cent if 15 per cent of drivers switched to using an e-bike. Another recent North American survey found that 46 per cent of participants had ceased to commute to work or school by car in favour of an e-bike, while a European study showed that 47-76 per cent of e-bike trips counted had replaced car journeys.
If the bill gets enough support, it will go up for a vote first in the House of Representatives, then the Senate, and could ultimately be signed by President Biden. It will likely get support from the President, who has pledged to tackle climate change. His Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggested a strategy to move away from funding highways in favour of public transport and mobility for bicycles, pedestrians and the disabled.
Mike Sinyard, CEO and Founder of Specialized, has expressed his support of the Act. “There is an incredible benefit to the health of people and the planet when we opt for a bike ride over a car ride. Electric bikes serve as a more accessible means for reliable transport, commuting, recreation, and fitness and have a proven impact on reducing carbon emissions,” he said.
“Specialized is an avid supporter of the proposed federal tax incentive put forward by the E-BIKE Act. Whichever e-bike riders choose, we believe that encouraging more bike trips is a critical part of fighting the climate crisis.”