LOS ANGELES — The pandemic hasn’t had many silver linings, but it’s been a boon for bicycles of all kinds, including electric bikes powered with batteries and motors. The downside: They typically cost a lot more than traditional pedal bikes.

Now, a pair of Congress members are hoping to make e-bikes more affordable. On Tuesday, U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act to provide a 30% tax credit to consumers who purchase en electric bicycle.

What You Need To Know

  • The Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act would provide a 30% tax credit on the purchase of a new electric bicycle

  • The legislation was introduced Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congress members in California and Oregon

  • If signed into law, the E-BIKE Act would provide a tax credit of up to $1,500

  • The tax credit would be available to individuals every three years

Similar to battery-powered scooters, e-bikes are seen as a way to address the problems of climate change, equity, and mobility, according to the bicycle advocacy group, PeopleForBikes, based in Boulder, Colo. The group said that a 15% increase in electric bicycle usage could result in an 11% decrease in carbon emissions.  

Already, the federal government provides tax credits for electric cars and motorcycles. 

“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,” Congressman Panetta said in a statement. “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 E-BIKE Act is passed, consumers could get a tax credit worth up to $1,500 on a new e-bike costing less than $8,000. The tax credit would be available to an individual once every three years, or twice for a couple that files their tax returns jointly and buys two electric bicycles. The bill would also require a report after the law has been in effect for two years to see what income tax brackets are utilizing the credit so it could be adjusted for equity if necessary.