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Singapore Car Ownership Rights Start At $76,000, Excluding The Car Cost

Explore why Singapore car ownership rights start at $76,000 and how it impacts transportation choices in the city-state.

Author:Xander Oddity
Reviewer:Dr. Felix Chaosphere
Oct 06, 202313.9K Shares217.3K Views
In many parts of the United States, car ownership is largely seen as a necessity. Tax incentives and a scarcity of public transit infrastructure in certain areas make it so. However, overseas, especially in places like Singapore, the narrative is quite different.
Singapore, often lauded for its infrastructural excellence, offers a comprehensive public transportation system that rivals many top globalcities. It's little wonder that the city-state has placed such a premium on public transport, especially when singapore car ownership rights start at $76,000. This figure alone is indicative of the nation's push for efficient public mobility and reduced personal car usage. For those visiting or living in the Lion City, mastering the intricate web of buses, trains, and taxis is not just a convenience—it's an economic imperative.

Singapore Car Ownership Rights Start At $76,000

Singapore has recently drawn attention for the staggering cost of car ownership. “Owning a vehicle in the city requires a special certificate, one rationed out by the government to limit the number of cars out on the roads. Now, those certificates are hitting record prices: Over $106,000," according to a report from Reuters.
Introduced in 1990, the “certificate of entitlement” (COE) system controls vehicle numbers in this densely populated country, which is home to 5.9 million people. “Singapore has a 10-year COE system, [...] to control the number of vehicles in the small country, which can be driven across in less than an hour,” the report elaborates.
The impact of this quota, determined via a bidding process, has been significant. It has positioned Singapore as the costliest city globally for buying a car.
“The COE for a large car more than quadrupled from 2020 prices on Wednesday to a record S$146,002 ($106,376.68). Including COE, registration fees and taxes, a new standard Toyota Camry Hybrid currently costs S$251,388 ($183,000) in Singapore, compared with $28,855 in the U.S. A small, government-subsidised flat in Singapore costs about S$125,000,” according to the same source.
When it comes to understanding the weight of this financial burden, consider this: “The median annual household salary in Singapore is S$121,188.” One would have to spend nearly double their yearly earnings to purchase a standard vehicle, such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
However, the COE’s staggering price isn’t the only financial hurdle. According to figures from the Land Transport Authority, the cost for a 10-year Certificate of Entitlement currently stands at a record minimum of $76,000, which is four times its 2020 value. And this fee only secures the right to acquire a standard Category A vehicle. Those hoping to drive something more upscale, such as an SUV, are looking at an even steeper price.
"Those who want something bigger or flashier – like an SUV – will have to fork out $106,630 (146,002 Singapore dollars) for the Category B license – up from $102,900 (140,889 Singapore dollars),” as reported.
Ricky Goh, a local car dealer, expressed his dismay at the recent hikes, he shared with CNN:
I ‘nearly fainted’ when I heard about the price increase. ‘Sales have already been so poor. This on top of that will be even worse for business,’- Ricky Goh, Local Car Dealer
Many residents are now reconsidering the practicality of car ownership. Wong Hui Min, a mother who relies on her car for her family's day-to-day needs, stated: “I run around a lot, sending my kids to and from school, also for other activities like swimming lessons and tuition. I need my car. Taking taxis or shared rides everywhere is just not convenient for me.”
For those unable to afford the Certificate of Entitlement, there’s the option of relying on Singapore’s impressive public transport network. Or, as a more budget-friendly alternative to cars, there’s the choice of purchasing a motorbike, with permits priced at a much lower $7,930.
Despite the high costs, some residents acknowledge the benefits of the quota system. While living in Singapore, which holds the title of the world's most expensive city, has become noticeably costlier over the years, supporters argue that the COE initiative has protected the city from the crippling congestion seen in neighboring Southeast Asian capitals.
Regardless of the diverse opinions, one thing remains clear: owning a car in Singapore is now more of a luxury than ever before.

The Social Status Of Car Ownership In Singapore

In the bustling streets of Singapore, old clunkers are a rarity. In stark contrast to many nations, where cars are viewed as essential commodities, Singapore's automotive landscape echoes a different narrative. Here, cars are more than just a means of transport—they signify status and luxury.
Parked Luxury Cars
Parked Luxury Cars
Historically, Singapore's approach to transportation and mobility is uniquely strategic. Amid the backdrop of urban planning, the government has consistently prioritized a "car-lite"vision, fostering an environment where residents lean towards walking, cycling, or the city's robust public transit. This agenda is not merely conceptual; the nation has poured substantial resources into expanding its world-class public transportation infrastructure.
In a mere decade, Singapore's commitment to this goal saw the addition of 1,000 buses, 200 trains, and the construction of three new underground lines. The aim is clear: to make a subway stationaccessible within a 10-minute walk for 80% of its households.
However, this sustainable vision also comes with strict regulatory measures. One of the most pivotal instruments in shaping Singapore's car culture is the Certificate of Entitlement (COE). This permit system does more than just cap the number of vehicles—it has positioned cars as luxury items.

Cars In Singapore - Beyond The Luxury Label

To understand the extravagance associated with cars in Singapore, one must first grapple with the intricate dynamics of the COE.
This permit is not merely paperwork; it is a significant financial hurdle. Car enthusiasts must first successfully bid for a COE before they even think about purchasing a vehicle.
Once acquired, the COE provides a ten-year window for the car to grace Singapore's roads. After a decade, owners face a stark choice: scrap or export the vehicle or dig deep into their pockets for a new, often even pricier, COE.
When one sums up additional fees like the Open Market Value (OMV), Additional Registration Fee (ARF), and Goods and Services Tax (GST), to name a few, it's no wonder that car ownership remains elusive for many Singaporeans.

Land Transport & Mobility - A Balancing Act

The country's unique challenges further complicate the situation. Singapore's land limitations juxtapose against a rising demand for real estate. Consequently, the city-state's roads currently occupy 12% of its total land area, a figure that can't grow indefinitely. The government's antidote is twofold: stifle the allure of car ownership and enhance alternative transportation options. To this end, Singapore has earmarked an ambitious S$36 billion for the next half-decade to deepen its "car-lite" aspirations.
A testament to the efficacy of these efforts is Singaporeans' current transportation habits.
A 2022 survey by Standard Insights highlighted that almost 80% of respondents had no near-future intentions of buying or leasing a car. Interestingly, public transportation dominated the preferences, with a whopping 82.66% of Singaporeans relying on it, whereas a mere 10.33% chose private automobiles as their primary mode of commute.

A Future Without Cars?

International cities are gradually adopting measures to regulate vehicular traffic and reduce emissions, drawing inspiration from models like Singapore's. The city's stringent measures, combined with the soaring costs of COEs, may indeed symbolize the dwindling dream of carownership. However, many residents back this trajectory. In a land-scarce nation, over-dependence on private cars seems counterintuitive.
In the heart of Singapore, where skyscrapers kiss the sky and roads weave intricate patterns, cars are not just vehicles—they're statements. Yet, beneath the allure of luxury and status, lies a city's resolute vision for a sustainable, car-lite future.
Singapore, though compact, boasts a public transportation system that offers a seamless experience for locals and tourists alike. Whether you aim to indulge in a shopping spree at Orchard Road, witness the wonders of Singapore Zoo, or catch a flight at Changi Airport, the city’s efficient transportation means you can achieve it all in a single day.

How To Ride The MRT

The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system, inaugurated in 1987, now sprawls across various residential and commercial zones, connecting the heritage-rich regions to the Changi Airport. With its six lines and approximately 130 stations, understanding the MRT is straightforward: stations are identified by both their line name and a unique number like Orchard Station being labeled NS22 on the North-South Line.
Inside Singapore MRT
Inside Singapore MRT
Switching between lines is convenient with numerous interchanges, although some newer connections might involve a longer walk. To better acquaint yourself with the system, it's recommended to consult the MRT network map.
  • Operating Hours -Generally, the MRT functions from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. Extended hours might be observed during festive seasons. The trains frequent every 2-3 minutes during rush hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and 5-7 minutes otherwise.
  • Fares - Depending on the journey length, the prices range between 0.83 to 1.25 Singapore dollars. To gauge potential fares, use the Singapore Land Transport Authority Fare Calculator.
  • Ticketing - Both buses and trains utilize the contactless EZ-Link Pass for payments. Remember to tap your card when entering and exiting paid zones. EZ-Link Passes can be procured at MRT Stations, bus terminals, and select convenience stores.
  • Accessibility -Commuters with special needs aren’t left behind. MRT stations come equipped with amenities like ramps, elevators, barrier-free access, and toilets suitable for wheelchair users. Provisions for visually and hearing-impaired individuals are also available.
  • Transit to Changi Airport -Board a train to Tanah Merah Interchange (EW4), and from there, you can directly reach Changi Airport (CG2).
For routing assistance, various apps and websites offer guidance. For a tailored experience, opt for the MyTransport by Singapore’s Land Transport Authority. Alternatives include CityMapper and

MRT-Accessible Tourist Attractions

  • Botanic Gardens -Accessible via the Botanic Gardens Interchange (CC19/DT9).
  • Chinatown -Reach through Raffles Place Interchange (EW14/NS26), Outram Park Station (EW16), or Chinatown Station (NE4).
  • Kampong Glam -Alight at the East-West Line’s Bugis Station (EW12).
  • Little India -North-East Line’s Little India Interchange (NE7/DT12) and Farrer Park Station (NE8) lead you there.
  • Marina Bay - Multiple stations such as Raffles Place Interchange (EW14/NS26) and Marina Bay Interchange (NS27/CE2/TS20) connect to Marina Bay.
And more, including Orchard Road, Sentosa, and Singapore Zoo.

Riding Singapore’s Bus System

While the MRT offers speed, the bus system provides extensive coverage, connecting remote residential areas. Two major bus operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Buses, run services from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. Night services, like Nite Owl and NightRider, function until 2 a.m.
For fare payments, either use the EZ-Link Pass or exact change in cash. To map out your journey, platforms like MyTransport, CityMapper, and come in handy.
Singapore Bus SBS Transit
Singapore Bus SBS Transit

Riding Singapore’s Taxis And Ride Shares

Although abundant, taxis are relatively pricey in Singapore. They can be hailed from designated stands or summoned via phone or apps. Notable taxi services include Comfort Transportation, CityCab, and SMRT Taxis. Ridesharing platforms like Grab also operate extensively.

Taxi And Ride-Share Prices And Surcharges

Fares are influenced by factors like time of day, distance covered, and location. Certain conditions, such as peak hours or late-night rides, can induce additional charges. Taxis also apply charges for credit card payments. Due to these varying surcharges, for budget-friendly travel, opting for buses or the MRT is advised.

Tips For First-Time Commuters In Singapore

  • Avoid Rush Hours -Morning hours, especially between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., see heightened congestion.
  • EZ-Link Pass is Essential -More than just a ticket, it's a versatile card you can use for multiple services.
  • Stay Connected -Procure a local SIM card compatible with Singapore’s 4G network. With ample data, navigating using the above-listed apps becomes effortless.
With this guide in hand, traversing Singapore without a car is not just feasible, but also an enjoyable experience.


How Do Singapore Car Ownership Rights Affect The Average Citizen?

Given that Singapore car ownership rights start at $76,000, it has significantly impacted the decision for many to own a vehicle. The high initial cost serves as a deterrent, encouraging residents to opt for the city's efficient public transportation system or alternative modes of transport. The measure is part of the government's effort to control traffic congestion and promote a more sustainable urban environment.

Does The $76,000 Include The Cost Of The Actual Car?

No, the $76,000 pertains solely to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) required to own and use the car in Singapore. The actual cost of the car is separate and is in addition to the COE price. Therefore, when buying a car in Singapore, one has to consider both the cost of the vehicle and the COE.

Are There Any Exemptions Or Reductions To This Car Ownership Fee?

There are different categories of COEs, and prices might vary based on the type and size of the vehicle. Additionally, the government has implemented various schemes and incentives to promote the use of greener and more environmentally friendly vehicles. These might offer certain rebates or reductions in the COE price. However, it's essential to consult the latest government guidelines or a local car dealership to understand the most current incentives and rebates available.


Singapore's extensive and efficient public transportation system has been developed and maintained with the intention of making private car ownership less appealing, a fact underscored when considering that Singapore car ownership rights start at $76,000.
This strategy, combined with world-class infrastructure, ensures that residents and tourists alike can traverse the city-state with ease, convenience, and affordability. While car ownership might be a symbol of luxury or convenience in many parts of the world, in Singapore, it's a testament to the efficiency and viability of alternative modes of transport.
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Xander Oddity

Xander Oddity

Xander Oddity, an eccentric and intrepid news reporter, is a master of unearthing the strange and bizarre. With an insatiable curiosity for the unconventional, Xander ventures into the depths of the unknown, fearlessly pursuing stories that defy conventional explanation. Armed with a vast reservoir of knowledge and experience in the realm of conspiracies, Xander is a seasoned investigator of the extraordinary. Throughout his illustrious career, Xander has built a reputation for delving into the shadows of secrecy and unraveling the enigmatic. With an unyielding determination and an unwavering belief in the power of the bizarre, Xander strives to shed light on the unexplained and challenge the boundaries of conventional wisdom. In his pursuit of the truth, Xander continues to inspire others to question the world around them and embrace the unexpected.
Dr. Felix Chaosphere

Dr. Felix Chaosphere

Dr. Felix Chaosphere, a renowned and eccentric psychiatrist, is a master of unraveling the complexities of the human mind. With his wild and untamed hair, he embodies the essence of a brilliant but unconventional thinker. As a sexologist, he fearlessly delves into the depths of human desire and intimacy, unearthing hidden truths and challenging societal norms. Beyond his professional expertise, Dr. Chaosphere is also a celebrated author, renowned for his provocative and thought-provoking literary works. His written words mirror the enigmatic nature of his persona, inviting readers to explore the labyrinthine corridors of the human psyche. With his indomitable spirit and insatiable curiosity, Dr. Chaosphere continues to push boundaries, challenging society's preconceived notions and inspiring others to embrace their own inner tumult.
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