WASHINGTON – This week, Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) introduced legislation to make purchasing an electric bicycle, or e-bike, much more affordable for consumers.
The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment, or E-BIKE, Act would establish a tax credit that covers 30 percent of the cost of an electric bicycle, or up to a $1,500 credit, and would apply to all new e-bikes that cost less than $8,000, according to a news release from Panetta. The total cost of the tax credit would be about $270 million.
A recent study led by researchers from Portland State University, in Oregon, found that carbon emissions would drop by 12 percent if 15 percent of car trips were replaced by the use of an e-bike.
E-bike imports to the U.S. have surged in recent years, and travel restrictions, including the dramatic reduction in the use of mass transit during the coronavirus pandemic, have certainly contributed to the skyrocketing demand. Last year, the U.S. imported roughly 600,000 e-bikes, up from 270,000 in 2019. But most quality e-bikes are not within reach for many consumers due to cost, which can range from $1,500 to more than $4,000.
The legislation introduced by Panetta and Blumenauer could allow millions of Americans on a tight budget to access the e-bike market, said EWG President Ken Cook, who is an avid cyclist and regularly rides his own e-bike near his home in northern California. Cook praised the introduction of the legislation.
“Americans are just beginning to discover the thrill of riding the new generation of electric-powered bicycles,” said Cook. “The boom in sales during the pandemic has made clear the enormous potential of e-bikes for recreation, commuting and errands. For many uses they can replace a car, no sweat – literally. E-bike technology is getting better, and the costs are dropping by the month.”
“We strongly encourage Congress to pass the E-BIKE Act introduced by Reps. Panetta and Blumenauer, who is chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus,” Cook said. “Even more strongly, we encourage anyone who hasn’t yet tried an e-bike to head to your nearest bike shop and go for a test smile – er, ride – then help EWG make the E-BIKE Act the law of the land.”
The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.