California congressman wants to introduce a tax credit for e-bike purchases

The program would allow a 30% rebate on purchases of e-bikes that cost up to $8,000.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read
2021 Serial 1 Rush and Mosh e-bikes from Harley-Davidson

E-bikes aren't super cheap, but if this California congressman has his way, they could get a little cheaper.

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Federal tax incentives are currently one of the best ways to help people choose an electric vehicle over an internal combustion vehicle. Those incentives exist for cars and trucks and even motorcycles , but not yet for the increasingly popular e-bike segment. Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) is hoping to change that.

Rep. Panetta introduced his proposal -- known as the E-Bike Act -- for the e-bike rebate program back in February alongside Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). The program, if adopted, would allow a credit of 30% of the purchase price on e-bikes costing up to $8,000. That would certainly lower the bar to entry for many, and what's neat about this proposal is that it's fully refundable -- meaning it's not a tax incentive like the Federal car program. That makes it helpful to buyers of lesser income.

"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," said Rep. Panetta 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."

OK, so that's cool, but just how big an impact would this have? How many people are actually buying and using e-bikes? According to a study published by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities claims that 45% of the trips people take on e-bikes in the US are done instead of taking a car. A different study claims that if 15% of the trips Americans take by car were instead taken with an e-bike, it would cut our carbon footprint by 12%. That's a considerable amount.

It's unclear what kind of support Rep. Panetta's bill has in Congress, but we're in favor of anything to help people experience how fantastic electric vehicles can be, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.

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