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The demand for electric bikes is increasing as people desperately seek cheaper alternatives for travel amid rising gas prices.
The price of regular gas was $4.26 on March 19, up over 20 percent from a month ago, and more than 47 percent from a year back, according to data from American Automobile Association. Electric bikes are seen as a viable and popular alternative to gas-fueled vehicles.
For the Pedego Electric Bike store in St. Louis, February was a “bonanza” month due to high customer demand for e-bikes. “We’re seeing a big spike in orders coming in way ahead of the season. Every month there’s another record,” CEO Don DiCostanzo said to Bloomberg.
“I’m not going to tell you it’s all because of fuel. But I absolutely believe it’s acting as a catalyst to get more people to consider alternate forms of transportation.”
Some people consider the current trend to be similar to the Bike Boom that America witnessed in the early 1970s. Sales of bikes more than doubled in just four years at the time, with high gasoline prices playing a role. “History repeats itself,” according to DiCostanzo.
William Leishman, owner of e-bike shop Scooteretti in Canada’s ByWard Market, is also seeing a “big increase and demand” for electric bikes, according to CTV News. He attributes the rising e-bike demand to gas prices, pointing out that people are beginning to view it as a long-term problem.
“A lot of the families that we’re starting to see coming in have two vehicles, they’re thinking about getting rid of one and having an electric bike as an alternative to an automobile,” Leishman said. Cargo bikes, seen as car replacements, are becoming popular as they can carry a couple of children together with a load of cargo in the back.
Bikes were in constant demand since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the demand is now expanding to e-bikes, Rod Wagner, owner of Aggieland Cycling in Texas, said to KBTX.
Wagner predicts e-bikes to be the future of transportation. His business is getting inquiries every week or couple of days. Purchasing an e-bike requires a sizable upfront investment. However, Wagner sees the one-time investment as a reasonable decision when considering gas prices.
“I think it’s definitely worth it and as time goes on just like in cars, the batteries are going to get cheaper,” said Wagner. “They are going to be easier to make, so when that happens the price of electric bikes just drops.”
The United States imported 800,000 e-bikes in 2021 according to the Light Electric Vehicle Association. This is a big jump from the 450,000 e-bikes imported in 2020.