July 18, 2024

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Singapore’s record-high car ownership certificate prices limit vehicle access.

Singapore has reached a new record high in the cost of its Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for large family cars, with prices now at S$146,002 ($106,619). The city-state introduced the 10-year COE system in 1990 as a measure to combat congestion and control vehicle ownership.

Under this system, prospective car owners must obtain a COE through auctions held every two weeks, and the government regulates the number of certificates available for sale. The COE system, combined with taxes and import duties, has made Singapore the most expensive country globally to purchase a car. For example, a new standard Toyota Camry Hybrid costs about S$250,000 in Singapore, including the COE and taxes, which is roughly six times more expensive than in the United States.

COE prices have continuously hit record highs due to a post-pandemic recovery that increased demand. Moreover, the government plans to cut rebates for these certificates next year.

The lowest COE for a car now costs S$104,000, nearly tripling since 2020, when the pandemic resulted in lower car demand. Even the “Open” category, which can be used for any car type, reached a record high of S$152,000.

Singapore aims to encourage its residents to use the highly regarded public transport system, as it is challenging for the average Singaporean, with an approximate salary of S$70,000, to afford a car due to the COE scheme. While the city-state has a relatively small area, it regularly ranks among the countries with the highest numbers of millionaires globally.

Despite this, it’s worth noting that Singapore had just under 1 million private cars on the road at the end of the previous year, and the number of new COEs issued depends on how many older cars are taken off the road. The government is committed to expanding and renewing the country’s rail network, with more than S$60 billion allocated for this purpose over the next decade.