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Bill Shorten tells Australians to buy an electric car

Bill Shorten has urged Australians to buy electric cars because petrol prices are so high, while blaming Scott Morrison for the unaffordability of EVs.

The former Labor leader has called on the government to make electric vehicles, more affordable as a solution to the high cost of living.

Mr Shorten, who is paid $211,250 of public funds per year as a federal politician, drives a taxpayer-subsidised $60,900 Tesla and said he enjoys not facing the same rising fuel expenses as most Australian drivers.

Petrol prices have surged to record highs in recent months, nearing an eye-watering average of $2.11 in Sydney and were $2.19 in Melbourne.

Bill Shorten says people should buy an electric vehicle because petrol prices are so high and blamed Scott Morrison for the unaffordability of EVs

Price prices have surged to record highs in recent months, nearing an eye-watering $2.40 a liter in parts of Sydney

Price prices have surged to record highs in recent months, nearing an eye-watering $2.40 a liter in parts of Sydney

The number of Australians who rate petrol as their most stressful expense has reached its highest ever level, Finder.com said on Tuesday.

Shorten told Karl Stefanovic and Chris O’Keefe on the Today show on Wednesday morning that the government should do more to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles.

‘We’ve done nothing on electric vehicles so poor people can’t get electric vehicles and I blame the government,’ Shorten said.’At the moment I’m driving an electric vehicle, and the price of filling up my vehicle with electricity is so much cheaper than petrol, we’re long overdue to do something about it.’

O’Keefe quickly fired back at Shorten’s suggestion that EVs are the answer.

‘Telsas cost a fortune. I don’t know if Bill Shorten is going to get in his Tesla… and drive from Melbourne to Canberra, he won’t get half way.

‘Are you going to plug it in at the Maccas?’

Shorten replied: ‘Do you know why they cost a fortune? Because the government hasn’t done anything to make electric vehicles cheaper.’

The Labor leader acknowledged supporting a cut the fuel excise tax to lower petrol prices 'is obviously on the table'

The Labor leader acknowledged supporting a cut the fuel excise tax to lower petrol prices ‘is obviously on the table’

The number of Australians who rate petrol as their most stressful expense has reached its highest ever level

The number of Australians who rate petrol as their most stressful expense has reached its highest ever level

But O’Keefe said electric vehicles are not a viable solution in Australia due to the country’s sheer size.

‘I still can’t drive more than 300km without having to plug it in, wait 45 minutes, and eat a three-course dinner and wait to charge it up.’

Shorten acknowledged the war in Ukraine has impacted petrol prices – but said prices were headed north before the conflict.

‘There’s no doubt that the price of petrol is a barbecue stopper at the moment, it’s north of $2 a liter.

He claimed a ‘longer-term solution’ is needed because ‘we knew that energy shocks would come.’

Shorten’s comments come after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he won’t be ‘forcing anyone’ to drive an electric vehicle.

‘If you want to drive one and buy one, good for you, that’s great, I think that’s your choice,’ he said.

‘If you don’t want to drive one, that’s fine, keep driving the car you’ve got.’

Mr Morrison reiterated that his government’s emissions reduction policy is about ‘choice, not mandates’.

‘It’s not about taxes, it’s about technology, and the technology will move at the pace of the consumers and what they want.

‘I’m not about to be subsidizing those costs. I mean, if you buy an electric vehicle, you don’t pay fuel excise for start. So there is already an inbuilt advantage of going down that path, if that’s what you want to do,’ Morrison said.

‘But my opponent, the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, said that he is going to encourage electric vehicles by abolishing the import tariffs on them.

‘There aren’t any import tariffs on electric vehicles. That’s what comes when you haven’t done a budget before and you’ve never had a financial portfolio.’

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