Government nixes incentives for electric motorcycles

It is clear that many governments want to end the use of internal combustion engines. Politicians around the world are pushing to switch from fossil fuels to electric propulsion. Regardless of whether electric vehicles are better for the environment or people, new legislation in the United States sends very mixed messages about promoting the shift to electric vehicles. Incentives to buy electric motorcycles have run out, missing from the latest spending spree.

Inflation Reduction Act

The US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, signed into law on August 16, is supposed to “fight inflation, invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing, and reduce carbon emissions by approximately 40 percent by ‘by 2030’. The effect of the new legislation is extensive; As part of the goal of reducing carbon emissions, the new law contains provisions that encourage Americans to switch to electric transportation.

These new incentives are intended to make it easier to buy electric cars made in the United States. So what’s wrong with that? Well, it seems that the current crop of American leaders, without explanation, has provided no financial incentive to help Americans buy electric motorcycles. You know, vehicles that are generally cheaper than cars and therefore more affordable for many people. And the same vehicle that takes up less space and reduces traffic jams. So why would Congress ignore them?

Expired incentives

In the past, there had been incentives for electric motorcycles at the federal level, but they expired on January 1, 2022. For an unspecified reason or reasons, Congress decided that this time around, electric motorcycles should not not receive it.

They forgot

Did they just forget to include them? Could this be something straight out of a Steve Martin comedy routine:

Tax Officer: “Mr. Martin, you haven’t filed your taxes in 10 years.

Mr. Martin: “I forgot.”

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Congress simply forgot to include incentives for electric motorcycles. And the potential reasoning for omitting motorcycles from the new law is unappealing.

American-made and electric-powered, Congress chose not to incentivize the purchase of electric motorcycles like this Zero FX. Photo: Zero Motorcycles

No toy incentives

Some see motorcycles only as toys, not a legitimate mode of transportation. In many parts of the world, motorcycles (and scooters) make up the majority of vehicles because they are cheaper to buy and maintain, take up less space and are easier to store, especially in cities. . But here in the US, apparently, politicians may see them as a toy for the rich.

Protect the public

The other potential bugaboo could be that Congress thinks it’s acting on our behalf to promote safety, not just for runners themselves, but also for people in cars and pedestrians. There was a deluge of news about hooligan riders circulating the streets and public parks, and there were deaths of non-riders as a result. And if that’s why Congress ignored motorcyclists, for the uninformed, all motorcyclists are to blame.

If Congress thinks motorcycles are “just too dangerous,” that’s another story, and for this article, I won’t go that route.

an incentive

Ultimately, the only place where motorcycles get attention in the Cut Inflation Act is in an amendment to the tax code regarding a special $1,000 tax credit for electric charging stations. for two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

Interestingly, the amendment makes the above credit valid until 2032. So until 2021, the US government has encouraged the purchase of electric motorcycles. And now they are offering a tax credit for installing a charging station until 2032. So why does the government continue to encourage motorcycle charging stations but not the motorcycles themselves?

Direct motorcycle incentives are dead

The potentially most upsetting thing about the omission of electric motorcycles from the Cut Inflation Act is the fact that the incentives for electric motorcycles are essentially dead, and resurrecting dead legislation is not a task. easy.

Now that they have expired, if Congress wants to enact electric motorcycle incentives again, it will have to repeat the entire legislative process. Both houses of Congress will have to agree and the president will have to approve the new legislation. So unless something changes, you can pretty much forget about electric motorcycle incentives.

State incentives

Fortunately, some states still have incentives to help motorcyclists purchase and charge electric motorcycles. According to the website of electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero Motorcyclesfive states and counties currently have incentives for two-wheeled electric vehicles.

California, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Arizona each have some sort of financial incentive to help people buy an electric motorcycle. Most come from rebates, but Arizona offers a vehicle registration tax reduction. However, state laws can change quickly, so the duration of these incentives can change. And more states may offer incentives in the future.


So if transportation electrification is so vital to American politicians, why were motorcycles left out? This is a question you will have to ask the politicians who represent you.

Earnest L. Veasey