Car Running Costs
Singapore 2019

An in-depth analysis of the current costs of running a car in Singapore.

Last Updated: August, 2019. Latest available data from May, 2019.

Highlights

  • The average purchase price of a typical compact car such as a Honda Civic is S$99,262.

  • Fuel costs are the biggest ongoing expense for motorists. Singaporean motorists pay average weekly fuel costs of $50 for a compact car and $70 for a large sedan.

  • Since 2011, the average price of most cars in Singapore has decreased by up to 23%. (Apart from the purchase price of a large luxury sedan which has increased by 20%.)

  • Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to buy a car. And nearly 2 ½ times more expensive than buying in Malaysia.

  • The effectiveness of using high car prices to reduce traffic congestion is difficult to determine, as Singapore ranks 88th in a global index of 403 cities for traffic congestion on roads during peak hours.

Purchase price

Due to the need to regulate the total number of vehicles in Singapore to keep traffic congestion at a manageable level, the purchasing cost includes the price of the car itself as well as the amount you'll have to pay to obtain a Certificate of Entitlement (COE), or the right to purchase and own a car.

Besides the price of the vehicle and the COE, the purchase price of a car usually also includes the Registration Fee, the Additional Registration Fee, and often the first payment of the road tax.

Depending on the car's pollutant emissions, it may also be subject to a Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES) surcharge or rebate.

One of the most popular cars in Singapore is the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 standard with a current average purchase price of $96,000.

Using this model, here is a breakdown of the initial car purchasing costs.

Open Market Value

The vehicle’s Open Market Value (OMV) is assessed by Singapore Customs and includes purchase price, freight, insurance and all other charges incidental to the sale and delivery of the car to Singapore.

The OMV for a Toyota Corolla Altis is $19,700.

Registration Fee (RF)

To register a car in Singapore there is a flat $220 registration fee.

Additional Registration Fee (ARF)

The Additional Registration Fee (ARF) is an additional charge calculated based on the Open Market Value.

For the first $20,000 of OMV the ARF rate is 100%, for the next $30,000 of OMV (i.e. $20,001 to $50,000) the ARF rate is 140%, and every dollar above $50,000 in OMV the ARF rate is 180%.

Based on those calculations, the Additional Registration Fee on a Toyota Corolla Altis is $19,700.

This is a significant expense but car buyers do have the opportunity to recoup the cost of the ARF if they deregister their car before it turns 10 years of age through the PARF rebate system, (See under Rebates).

Additional Registration Fee (ARF)

Registration Fee (RF)

$220

Additional Registration Fee (ARF)

Vehicle Open Market Value (OMV)

ARF rate (% of OMV to pay)

First $20,000

100%

Next $30,000
(i.e. $20,001 to $50,000)

140%

Above $50,000

180%

Excise duty

Every car buyer must pay an Excise Duty that is 20% of the car's Open Market Value.

For a Toyota Corolla this works out at $3,940.

 The typical Goods & Services Tax of 7% on all consumption goods.

This is based on the OMV and Excise Duty.

Payment for a Toyota Corolla is $1,654.80

Vehicle Emissions Scheme (VES)

Singapore encourages the purchase of environment-friendly vehicles by offering rebates on cars with particularly low pollutant emissions and applying surcharges on cars with particularly high emissions under the Vehicle Emissions Scheme or VES. 

Since 2018, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme has applied a surcharge of up to $20,000 or a rebate of up to $20,000, in $10,000 increments based on a vehicle’s emissions of;

  • carbon dioxide,
  • hydrocarbons,
  • carbon monoxide,
  • nitrous oxide,
  • and particulate matter.

The worst performing pollutant determines your vehicle’s band and its corresponding VES rebate or surcharge.

Vehicular Emissions Scheme for Conventional Vehicles

A1

A2

B

C1

C2

$20,000

$10,000

$0

$10,000

$20,000

Rebate

Rebate

No Charge

Surcharge

Surcharge

  • Bands A1 and A2 qualify for an emission rebate which will be used to offset the car’s Additional Registration Fee (ARF).
  • For bands C1 and C2 you will have to pay an emission surcharge.
  • Band B is neutral which means no charge.

A Toyota Corolla falls in band B which works out at zero payment.

Certificate of Entitlement (COE)

The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system is designed to constrain the rate of growth of vehicles on Singapore roads based on the Vehicle Quota System.

The COE entitles the vehicle to be used in Singapore for 10 years, after which it must be renewed or the vehicle scrapped or exported.

COEs are sold in an open bidding system two times per month, and their values rise and fall with economic sentiment and COE quota availability.

There are five categories of COE;

Category A and category B are for cars based on vehicle engine capacity and power; other categories are open; one for motorcycles; and one for goods vehicles and busses.

The COE for the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 currently costs around $31,997

COE prices are continually shifting forcing car prices to fluctuate significantly from month to month.

Here’s the latest June 2019 COE result vis-a-vis May 2019’s numbers:

Category

Certificate of Entitlement (COE) - May 2019

Certificate of Entitlement (COE) - June 2019

CAT A
(Cars up to 1600cc and 97KW)

$27,000

$26,999

CAT B
(Cars above 1600cc or 97KW)

$42,564

35,906

Fluctuating car prices

Changing COE costs impact car prices leading to dramatic fluctuations over a 6 month period. For example the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 standard was priced at $90,000 in March, 2019 and rose to $100,000 in May, just two months later.

Price History of the Toyota Corolla Altis over a 6-month period.

Price History of the Toyota Corolla Altis over a 6-month period

Breakdown of initial purchase price for the Toyota Corolla Altis

Car costs

Amount

OMV

$19,700

COE

$31,777

ARF

$19,700

Registration Fee

$220

Excise Duty

$3,940

GST 

$1,654.80

Dealer’s margin (25%)

$19,008.20

 Total

$96,000

Breakdown of initial car prices for other selected models looks like this;

Make/model

OMV

Excise & GST

Reg fee

Tiered ARF Payable

VES Rebate/ Surcharge

COE *June 2019

Quoted selling price (including dealers’ mark-up)

BMW 640i xDrive

$79,932

$22,701

$220

$115,878

$20,000

$39,728

$384,888

Kia Stonic 1.0 DCT

$17,768

$5,046

$220

$17,768

-$10,000

$30,009

$79,999

Mercedes-Benz S450L

$103,351

$29,352

$220

$158,032

$20,000

$39,728

$469,888

Nissan Qashqai 2.0

$23,150

$6,575

$220

$24,410

$10,000

$39,728

$126,800

Rebates

The Land Transport Authority will pay you for de-registering or scrapping your car by offering you COE and/or PARF rebates.

Certificate Of Entitlement (CEO) rebates

If your vehicle is de-registered before its 10 year-old COE expires you are entitled to a rebate that is pro-rated to the number of months and days remaining on the vehicle’s COE.

If you wait until your COE expires to deregister your car, you will not receive a COE rebate, as you won't have any unused time left on your COE.

Keep in mind that if you deregister your car within 2 years of its registration, your COE rebate will be capped at 80% of the COE price paid.

Preferential Additional Registration (PARF) rebates

In addition, de-registered vehicles less than 10 years old may be eligible for a Preferential Additional Registration Fee which is a rebate on the AFR paid.

Here’s how much you can expect to get in PARF rebate based on the age of your car at deregistration.

Age at Deregistration

PARF Rebate

Under 5 years

75% of ARF paid

Over 5 but under 6 years

70% of ARF paid

Over 6 but under 7 years

65% of ARF paid

Over 7 but under 8 years

60% of ARF paid

Over 8 but under 9 years

55% of ARF paid

Over 9 but under 10 years

50% of ARF paid

Over 10 years

Nothing

The more you paid for your car, the higher the ARF was, and the higher your PARF rebate will be, as long as your car is still under 10 years old.

If it's over 10 years old, however, you will no longer be able to receive the PARF rebate.

The Additional Registration Fee on a Toyota Corolla Altis is $19,700. If you deregister your car at 9 years old then you’ll receive 50% of that amount ($9,850).

Depreciation

Depreciation varies depending on the vehicle age, make and model, COE values, and other market factors.

Online depreciation calculators offer a guide, based on the purchase price (with prevailing COE) 10-year lifespan and the PARF calculated, but no residual value for the car.

Depreciation is calculated with the following formula:

Annual Depreciation = (Total Cost of Vehicle – Sale Value of Vehicle) / Number of Years in Service

In 2019, the annual depreciation of the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 is at $8,158.

Compare this to the annual depreciation of a Mercedes-Benz S450L which is $39,087.

Ongoing costs of running a car in Singapore 2019

In addition to the fees and taxes factored into the initial cost of purchasing a car, there are other costs associated with car ownership, many of them recurring and mandatory. They include insurance costs, loan repayments, maintenance costs, and road tax.

Road Tax

Road Tax is calculated based on engine capacity in five bands by the following formula:

Engine Capacity (EC) in cc

Six-Monthly Road Tax Formula

EC < 600

S$200 x 0.782

600  < EC < 1,000

[S$200 + S$0.125(EC - 600)] x 0.782

1,000 < EC < 1,600 

[S$250 + S$0.375(EC - 1,000)] x 0.782

1,600 < EC < 3,000

[S$475 + S$0.75(EC - 1,600)] x 0.782

EC > 3,000

[S$1,525 + S$1(EC - 3000)] x 0.782

The cost of annual road tax for the Toyota Corolla Altis is $742

Cost of annual road tax for other selected models

Make/model

Annual road tax

BMW 640i xDrive

$2,384

Kia Stonic 1.0 DCT

$392

Mercedes-Benz S450L

$2,382

Nissan Qashqai 2.0

$1,210

Road tax surcharge for vehicles over 10 years

For vehicles of more than 10 years old, you have to pay a road tax surcharge on top of your vehicle's original road tax.

Age of vehicle 

Annual road tax surcharge

More than 10 years old

10% of road tax

More than 11 years old

20% of road tax

More than 12 years old

30% of road tax

More than 13 years old

40% of road tax

More than 14 years old

50% of road tax

Fuel costs

The average Singapore car is driven 17,500km annually.

Standard 95-octane petrol costs $2.25 per litre.

A Toyota Corolla Altis gets an average of 15.4 kms per liter. Driving 17,500 kms in one year in this car would cost you S$2,402. (Or $200 a month.)

Assuming drivers are able to match manufacturers’ fuel economy figures, the annual cost to drive the average distance for other cars is:

Annual fuel costs for other selected models

Make/model

Annual fuel cost

BMW 640i xDrive

$3,347

Kia Stonic 1.0 DCT

$2,126

Mercedes-Benz S450L

$3,229

Nissan Qashqai 2.0

$2,717

Maintenance

Excluding luxury cars, the total cost of getting a car regularly serviced over a period of five years (or approximately 100,000 kms) costs $2,640 on average, or $528 annually.

Car Insurance

The Singapore Motor Vehicles (Third-Party Risks and Compensation) Act stipulates that someone found driving a motor vehicle in Singapore without car insurance coverage will be guilty of an offense and liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to three months, or both. 

While motoring is expensive in Singapore, car insurance rates are competitive – drivers in New South Wales, London, and New York, pay more for car insurance.

Car Insurance rates vary with driver age and experience, as well as claims history.

The average car insurance cost for a driver with five years of experience and a 0% no-claim bonus in a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 is $1,574.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in Singapore by Age Group (0% NCD)

Average Cost of Car Insurance in Singapore by Age Group (0% NCD)

Other charges

Electronic Road Pricing System (ERP)

Drivers in Singapore pay road use charges under the Electronic Road Pricing System (ERP) designed to reduce congestion. ERP rates are reviewed every quarter, and adjusted during school holiday periods.

As of 2018, there are 93 ERP gantries in Singapore.

The charge for passing through a gantry depends on the location and time, the peak hour being the most expensive. Examples include a trip from Woodlands to Raffles Place via Yishun – CTE – CBD will cost about S$15 during peak as the driver will pass about 5 gantries, whereas during lunchtime, it will cost about S$2.

Though it is difficult to estimate the average amount a typical Singaporean driver will need to pay, this is a recurring, daily cost every car-owner in Singapore will need to be prepared to pay.

Parking

Vehicles can only be parked in stipulated areas in Singapore. Parking in private condominiums or landed houses is generally free for residents. Parking in Housing Development Board carparks, Urban Redevelopment Authority carparks, and commercial buildings attracts charges. Season parking is available.

HDB season parking costs between $90 and $120 a month depending on whether it’s kerb-side or sheltered parking.

Car loans

Most car loans in Singapore will allow you to borrow up to 70% of your car’s open market value.

On average, new car loans cost about 2.92% of interest per year.

The average car loan in Singapore is $50,000. if this is taken out over 5 years, then monthly payments on a car loan would amount to around S$938.

After 5 years, you will have repaid your debt in full after having paid S$6,250 in interest. 

Annual running costs

Cost of ownership of a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6, driven 17,500km annually, minus ERP and parking charges.

Annual car running costs

Depreciation

$8,158

Road Tax

$742

Fuel

$2,402

Maintenance

$528

Insurance

$1,574

Total

$13,404

Car owners can minimize running costs by avoiding peak traffic periods, by maintaining an insurance no-claim bonus, and by driving as efficiently as possible. Ownership costs can be minimized by purchasing a smaller-capacity vehicle, and by avoiding financing costs where possible.

Car Type

What type of car you drive plays a large part in determining the total yearly running costs. Fuel consumption and type, the initial costs of the car, how old the vehicle is, depreciation and maintenance issues all affect the amount a car owner pays for the vehicle.

Compact car

E.g. Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, Mazda 3

The average cost of a compact car is around S$99,262.

Average annual fuel consumption is $2,400 (17,500km annually).

Since 2011, the average price of a compact car has decreased by 12%.

Average Cost of Compact Car in Singapore (2017-2019)

Average Cost of Compact Car in Singapore (2017-2019)

Small SUV

E.g. Nissan Qashqai, Honda HR-V, and the Mazda CX-3

The average initial cost of a small SUV is $108,300.

Average annual fuel consumption is $2,717 (17,500km annually)

Since 2010, the average price for this category has decreased by 23%.

Average Cost of Nissan Qashqaiin in Singapore (2010-2019)

Average Cost of Nissan Qashqaiin in Singapore (2010-2019)

Small luxury sedan

E.g. Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 series, Audi A4, 

The average initial cost of a small sized luxury sedan is $185,874.

Average annual fuel consumption is $3,229 (17,500km annually).

Since 2010, the average price for this category has decreased by 6%.

Average Cost of Small Luxury Sedans in Singapore (2010-2019)

Average Cost of Small Luxury Sedans in Singapore (2010-2019)

Large luxury sedan

E.g. Audi A6. Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 series 

The average initial cost of a large luxury sedan is $278,192.

Average annual fuel consumption is $3,347 (17,500km annually).

Unlike the rest of the car types in Singapore, the average price for this category hasn’t decreased but it has in fact increased by 20% since 2010.

Average Cost of Large Luxury Sedans in Singapore (2010-2019)

Average Cost of Large Luxury Sedans in Singapore (2010-2019)

Singapore car prices versus global 2019

Singapore "remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car", according to a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Here’s how the price of a car in Singapore compares to other countries in 2019

Country

Price of car in USD
(Volkswagen Golf 1.4)

Singapore

$110,479.80

Gabon

$108,243.99

Venezuela

$53,546.90

Papua New Guinea

$50,009.62

Maldives

$48,137.57

Vietnam

$47,427.08

Demark

$45,747.33

Faroe Islands

$45,747.33

Malaysia

$45,724.74

Norway

$44,514.79

Car prices are nearly 2.5 times cheaper in Malaysia compared to Singapore.

Pricey countries such as Tokyo and New York did not even make the top 10 in the annual list, beaten out by Paris, Zurich (joint second) Hong Kong (fourth) and Oslo (fifth).

Based on the same car, Singapore car prices in 2019 are up to 6 times more expensive than; Australia (US$18,365), up to 5.5 times more than China (US$20,725) and 5 times more expensive than America (US$21,845). Whilst prices in London for the same car work out at around US$23,00.

The effectiveness of using high car prices to reduce traffic congestion

Singapore currently ranks 88th in a global index of 405 cities for traffic congestion on roads in peak hours, compared to 54th place in 2017.

Latest statistics show that Singapore currently has an average congestion level of 31% - calculated by how much longer drivers spend on their commute during peak hours compared to non-peak hours.

This is a 2% reduction in traffic congestion from the previous year’s 33%, according to the study carried out by TomTom.

Singapore ranks better than London which has a congestion level of 37% (40th place) and New York with 36% congestion levels (42nd place).

In 2015 Singapore had a congestion level of 31%, the same as was recorded in 2018.

Citations:

[1] https://data.gov.sg/dataset/annual-mileage-for-private-motor-vehicles?view_id=fea21992-54d7-4fbc-a8ab-ec4c8b6b4e94&resource_id=7a913480-0de4-45b8-b922-18166d10d7db
[2] https://www.onemotoring.com.sg/content/onemotoring/home/driving/ERP.html
[3] https://www.valuechampion.sg/does-singapore-have-highest-car-insurance-premiums-world
[4] https://www.valuechampion.sg/what-happens-if-youre-caught-driving-without-car-insurance-singapore
[5] https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/roads-and-motoring/owning-a-vehicle/costs-of-owning-a-vehicle/tax-structure-for-cars.html
[6] https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/

Disclaimer:

Data on this website was sourced in May 2019 with the latest available data from May 2019. Auto & General Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Limited does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.