Bailout Gives Tax Credits to Bike Commuters, Electric Cars, Renewable Energy

Green consumers will benefit from legislation.

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Three new measures that will aid green consumers passed through Congress as part of the massive bailout bill last week. Here’s the rundown:

  • The Bicycle Commuter Act was added on to last week’s bailout bill and will provide a $20 tax credit per month to employers of bike commuters. The credit is intended to go toward adding provisions for bike commuters, like racks and locker rooms, for those who decide to go car free. However, many are decrying the act because it is part of an assortment of pork added to the bailout that some find frivolous--other items of which include tax credits for NASCAR track owners, film companies, and manufacturers of wool clothing.
  • Another piece of that pork: a tax credit for owners of electric cars. Fans of the Chevy Volt, who were disappointed by the electric car’s price, have a reason to celebrate again, as the transportation and domestic fuel security provision will provide a base of $2,500 plus an additional $417 per kilowatt-hour for batteries greater than four kilowatt-hours. Unfortunately, according to GM, “the credit will be applied to the first 250,000 plug-in cars sold in the U.S. and will be phased out to 50 percent for the following two quarters, and 25 percent for the two quarters after that before ending.” So, it’s a limited-time offer. The credits will cost $758 million total.

Wind power tax credits have been extended for one year; other types of renewable energy such as small-scale hydro or tidal power have been extended for two years. The bigger news is that solar tax credits for businesses and residential installations have been extended for eight years. The entire package amounts to $18 billion in tax credits and will be partially paid for by closing tax loopholes for the oil and gas industry.