The Reporter (Vacaville)

Thompson reintroduc­es E-BIKE Act

- By Thomas Gase tgase@timesheral­

This week, U.S. Representa­tives Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) and others reintroduc­ed the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environmen­t (E-BIKE) Act to encourage the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, through a consumer tax credit.

The incentive was also reintroduc­ed by Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley), Congressio­nal Bike Caucus Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) and Adam Schiff (D-Burbank). Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) has introduced companion legislatio­n in the Senate.

E-bike use is on the rise throughout the country to reduce vehicle trips, commute times and carbon emissions. According to a news release by Thompson, it's estimated that half of all trips in the U.S. are less than three miles, and nearly 60 percent of vehicle trips are less than 6 miles away from drivers' homes.

“Cycling is more than a hobby, it is an alternativ­e method of transit that reduces emissions and helps us address the climate crisis,” said Thompson in a news release.

“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.”

Panetta agreed. “Many people are looking to get out of their cars and get on to e-bikes not just for recreation, but also for transporta­tion purposes,” said Panetta.

“Although we're seeing more people on them in our communitie­s, more needs to be done to ensure that everybody across our country has access to an e-bike. 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. 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.”

The E-BIKE Act consumer tax credit:

• Covers 30 percent of the cost of the electric bicycle, up to a $1,500 credit

• Applies to new electric bicycles that cost less than $8,000

• Is fully refundable, allowing lower-income workers to claim the credit

In 2022, Denver implemente­d an e-bike rebate program. By the end of the year, more than 4,700 e-bike rebates were issued with nearly half going to low-income residents. In a survey, 71 percent of those who rode e-bikes said it helped them cut down on their car usage.

The program was estimated to have cut 2,040 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2022 and saved nearly $1 million in avoided fuel and electricit­y costs, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute.

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