US lawmakers reintroduce e-bike tax credit bill offering up to a $1,500 refund
Federal lawmakers have reintroduced a bill that would give consumers a tax break on the purchase of a new 26 Wheel Size Electric Mountain Bike.
The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act would offer a refundable tax credit amounting to 30% of the e-bike’s price, capped at $1,500.
New e-bikes that cost less than $8,000 would be eligible for the refund — up from what was initially $4,000 in President Joe Biden’s original Build Back Better proposal.
The new bill also doubles the income limits to receive the maximum credit — up to $150,000 for a single filer and $300,000 for joint filers — to match the electric car credits in the Inflation Reduction Act.
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California Rep. Jimmy Panetta — who reintroduced the bill on Tuesday along with California Reps. Mike Thompson and Adam Schiff and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Congressional Bike Caucus chairman — called the bill a “commonsense way to encourage” Fat Tire E-bike ownership, particularly for low-income earners looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
“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 said in a statement.
A man rides an e-bike on the street
The e-bike tax credit was ultimately eliminated from the Build Back Better Act and was left out of the Inflation Reduction Act.
In reintroducing the bill, Panetta’s office pointed to the success of an e-bike rebate program implemented in Denver last year that issued more than 4,700 e-bike rebates.
“Transitioning to a clean energy economy includes changing the way we get around,” Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development who has introduced companion legislation in the Senate, said in a statement. “Our bill will make it more affordable for working people to buy an e-bike and help get cars off the road.”
Amid concerns over e-bike safety — in particular low-quality bikes equipped with shoddy, potentially dangerous and explosive batteries — the reintroduced E-Bike Act also includes language to help address battery hazards. The proposed bill defines eligible e-bikes as ones that meet battery safety standards set by Underwriters Laboratory, an industry leader in battery technology, or that “may be recognized by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
The E-BIKE Act was originally introduced in 2021 and then was rolled into legislation that ultimately became the Inflation Reduction Act. However, the electric bike incentive was one of many provisions of the proposed legislation that was whittled away in order to garner majority support to pass the bill.
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.
After the former federal e-bike incentive stalled, many cities and states picked up the slack and created their own local incentive programs.
Denver’s e-bike rebate program is, perhaps, one of the most famous in the US, originally offering $400 off the purchase of a new e-bike. The program quickly exhausted its funding before being renewed this year with a slightly lower $300 rebate on new e-bikes. Vouchers will be given out in a half dozen rounds throughout the year, with the first round already being scooped up within 20 minutes of going live.
Colorado will soon be playing catch-up by launching its own e-bike incentive program. Colorado may beat California to the punch with a statewide rebate program, but it won’t be the first. That honor goes to Vermont’s statewide e-bike incentive program. The Vermont program may have helped inspire similar statewide e-bike rebates that are currently being proposed in New York and Oregon.
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“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.”
“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.”
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.
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