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A Big E-Bike Tax Credit May Make Bicycle Travel a Lot Cheaper, and Easier

Sustainability News
by Tim Wenger Jul 30, 2021

This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.

Electric bicycles may soon become a larger part of your travel itinerary. A bill that would provide a 30 percent tax credit on the purchase of e-bikes is under consideration in the US Senate. It’s called the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act. Technically, it’s an amendment to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and, if passed by Congress, it will create a very strong tax incentive for buyers of most new e-bikes.

If the bill passes the Senate and the House of Representatives, and is signed into law by President Biden, the hope is that the tax incentive will drive e-bike sales and encourage citizens to commute by bike rather than in their car. The e-bike tax credit would also provide a boon to bike shops both in big cities and in areas that depend on income generated by outdoor recreation.

In addition to financial incentives, getting more people on e-bikes is in line with the desire of cities to encourage more bike travel to ease congestion on clogged urban streets. Denver, New York, Philadelphia, and other major cities around the US saw a major boost in bicycle travel during the COVID-19 pandemic and hope to keep that momentum going even as a “new normal” establishes itself around the country.

What this may mean for you is not just a discount on a more sustainable way to get around in your city, but to travel as well. Electric mountain bikes, for example, encourage more people to get outside and explore the outdoors. Bikes can actually be combined with public transportation to create an emissions-free bikepacking trip with public buses or you can get to top mountain bike routes via Amtrak.

No matter how you arrive at another US city, once you get there a great way to explore it is via bicycle. Bikes allow you to see the city up-close while traveling greater distances than you could on foot. With an e-bike rented on arrival, you can see even more of the city without tiring yourself out — even hilly cities like Seattle. These are some of the best US cities to explore by bike.

There’s a lot for travelers to love in this bill. You can help make sure it’s passed by contacting your representatives in Congress and asking them to support its passage.

More climate wins

Grist reported this week on cadmium telluride technology, a material being used to create solar panels without the use of crystalline silicon. That’s good news because crystalline silicon is facing supply shortages due to the increasing global demand for solar panels. Also, suppliers in China’s Xinjiang region face US sanctions after being accused of using forced labor. Cadmium telluride could help alleviate supply shortages and diversify the supply chain, helping the market for solar energy keep up with ever-increasing demand. According to the report, cadmium telluride — which is thinner than silicone — is a viable alternative to crystalline silicone, accounts for 40 percent of utility-scale solar in the US and five percent globally.

The Indiana Department of Transportation will create the first pilot for a highway system that can charge electric vehicles as they drive, Smart Cities Dive reported. Following research and development through 2022, the state and its partners hope to deploy a quarter-mile stretch of highway in 2023, setting the stage for adoption of the technology around the country.

We close with a spotlight on a travel destination that makes it easy for visitors to be green. Matador this week published a guide on how to support local and sustainable businesses on Maui.

Discover Matador