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Is it cheaper to own a car or use Grab? Get the facts here.


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Technological disruption is changing the way we live. Only a decade ago a chauffeur-driven car was a fantasy for most of us, but now with Grab it is an everyday reality. It’s cheap too. Cheaper than owning a car in Singapore - one of the world’s most expensive country’s for motors?

Let’s find out.

Here are some findings by consumer research firm, Value Penguin.

To carry out the investigation they had to make some assumptions:

  • The average car is driven 17,500km annually, or four trips of 12km per day
  • The average car is a Toyota Corolla Altis, which gets 6.5l/100km economy
Main Costs of Car Ownership Average Annual Cost
Purchase Price $105,000/10 years = S$10,500 per year
Annual Insurance Premium $909.5
Maintenance Cost $621
Road Tax (1,600 cc engine) $742
Petrol (S$2.06/litre) $2,341
Total $15,113.5

For Grab in Singapore, the following assumptions were made:

  • The same daily travel of four trips of 12km.
  • The average speed travelled of 50km/h.
Annual Cost of Ride Sharing Services Grab
Number of Trips 1,460
Base Fare $3,650 ($2.5/ride)
Distance Based Cost (17,500km) S$8,750 (S$0.5/km)
Time Based Cost (21,000 minutes) S$3,360(S$0.16/min)
Total $15,760

What looks like a conclusive victory for having your own car does change a bit when other costs – such as parking – are considered. And credit card schemes tip the scales further in favour of the ride-hailing schemes, for now. While motorists enjoy 20% savings on fuel with some cards, other cards currently offer ride-hailing app users even greater benefits.

chart

So for the absolutely average Singaporean, taking Grab looks like the cheaper option thanks to the benefits given by the credit card companies.

Car owners can do their bit to improve their lot, of course. Not paying commission when buying insurance is a good start. Driving more gently to save fuel is another. And, counterintuitively, driving more distance in a year tips the scales back in car owners’ favour.

Cruising past people forlornly looking at their ride hailing apps on a rainy evening is just the icing on the cake.

Car insurance due? Pay less or get $100

We’re so confident we offer great prices that if your renewal premium with your current insurer is cheaper than our premium for the same level of cover, we’ll give you $100. Even if you decide not to buy from us.

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