Car Running Costs

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

Last Updated: March, 2023. Latest available data from January 2022.


  • 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

Since February 2018 Singapore has set the vehicle population growth rate at 0% (with the exception of goods vehicles and busses) to keep traffic congestion at a manageable level. The tool used to maintain this number is the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), which gives buyers the right to purchase and own a car for 10 years.

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.

A popular car in Singapore is the Toyota Corolla Altis Standard with a current purchase price of $121,888.

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 $19,346.

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 for 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 Standard is $19,346.

This is 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)
Above $50,000 180%

Excise duty

Every car buyer must pay an Excise Duty that is 20% of the car's Open Market Value, plus 7% Goods and Services Tax.

For a Toyota Altis Standard this works out at $5,494.

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 Enhanced Vehicle Emissions Scheme or VES, based on a vehicle’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and emissions of four other pollutants – hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).

The worst performing pollutant determines your vehicle’s band and its corresponding VES rebate or surcharge. The Toyota Corolla Altis is in band B and receives no rebate or penalty.

Vehicular Emissions Scheme from 2021

A1 A2 B C1 C2
$25,000 $15,000 0 $15,000 $25,000
Rebate Rebate No Charge Surcharge Surcharge
A1 A2 B C1 C2
$37,500 $22,500 0 $22,500 $37,500
Rebate Rebate No Charge Surcharge Surcharge

The VES scheme has been effective in encouraging the purchase of cleaner car models. Between Q3 2018 and Q1 2020, the number of new cars registered in Bands A and B that qualify for rebates increased by around 60 per cent, while the number of new cars subject to surcharges under Bands C have fallen by around 20 per cent.

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 buses.

The COE for the Toyota Corolla Altis currently costs around $57,599.

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

Here’s the latest Jan 2022 COE results compared to Jan 2021:

Category Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
Jan 2021
Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
Jan 2022
(Cars up to 1600cc and 97KW)
$43,501 $57,898
(Cars above 1600cc or 97KW)
$50,100 $82,001

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 $109,888 in August, 2021 and rose to $120,888 in January, just five months later.

Toyota Altis 1.6 Standard price

Aug 21 Sep 21 Oct 21 Nov 21 Dec 21 Jan 22
$109,888 $110,888 $115,888 $117,888 $121,888 $120,888

Mercedes-Benz E 300 Exclusive price

Aug 21 Sep 21 Oct 21 Nov 21 Dec 21 Jan 22
$340,888 $350,888 $362,888 $362,888 $362,888 $366,888

Breakdown of initial purchase price for the Toyota Altis as at Jan 2022

Car costs Amount
OMV $19,346
COE $57,599
ARF $19,346
Registration Fee $220
Excise Duty + GST $5,494
VES Rebate -$0
Dealer’s margin $19,883
Total $121,888

Breakdown of initial car prices for other selected models in December 2021 looks like this.

Make/ model OMV Excise & GST Reg fee Tiered ARF Payable VES Rebate/ Surcharge COE
*Dec 2021
Quoted selling price (including dealers’ mark-up)
BMW X6 xDrive $89,208 $25,335 $220 $132,575 $25,000 $80,401 $422,888
Kia Cerato 1.6 LX $12,100 $3,436 $220 $12,100 $0 $57,010 $107,999
Mercedes- Benz S450L $107,471 $30,522 $220 $165,448 $25,000 $80,401 $539,888
Mazda 3 M-Hybrid Elegance $22,907 $6,506 $220 $24,070 -$15,000 $57,010 $95,713

The Electric Vehicle Early Adoption Incentive (EEAI) is available until December 31, 2023, and offers rebates of up to 45% off the Additional Registration Fee, capped at $20,000.


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 $19,343. If you deregister your car at 9 years old, then you’ll receive 50% of that amount ($9,671).


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 Jan 2022, the annual depreciation of the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 is at $11,222.

Compare this to the annual depreciation of a Mercedes-Benz S450L which is $45,716.

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 for petrol cars 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

From 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022, petrol and petrol-hybrid cars enjoy 15% road tax rebate for one year.

Excluding this rebate, 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 X6 xDrive $2,38
Kia Cerato 1.6 LX $738
Mercedes-Benz S450L $2,384

Road Tax for Electric Vehicles

For Electric Vehicles (EVs) first registered on or after January 1, 2021, the road tax is calculated based on the Power Rating of the vehicle:

Road tax payable from 1 January 2022

Power Rating (PR) in kW 6-Monthly Road Tax
PR ≤ 7.5 $200 x 0.782
7.5 < PR ≤ 30 [$200 + $2(PR – 7.5)] x 0.782
30 < PR ≤ 230 [$250 + $3.75(PR – 30)] x 0.782
PR > 230 [$1,525 + $10(PR – 230)] x 0.782

There is an Additional Flat Component of Road Tax (For Electric Cars), that stands at $400 for 2022, and increases to $700 from 2023 onwards.

(For Electric Vehicles registered before January 1, 2021, there is a slightly different calculation, and the Additional Flat Component of Road Tax (For Electric Cars) (AFC) is waived to 31 December 2023. The full AFC amount will apply from 1 January 2024.)

Road tax for Hybrid Vehicles

Road tax for the petrol-electric hybrid vehicle is the higher of the calculations made using the petrol or electric road tax calculations.

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.

Currently standard 95-octane petrol costs $2.68 per litre.

A Toyota Corolla Altis uses an average of 6.4 litres per 100km. Driving 17,500 kms in one year in this car would cost you S$3,002. (Or $250 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 X6 xDrive $4,221
Kia Cerato 1.6 LX $3,095
Mercedes-Benz S450L $3,987
Mazda 3 M-Hybrid Elegance $2,576


Excluding luxury cars, the total cost of getting a small car such as a Toyota Altis regularly serviced over a period of five years (or approximately 100,000 kms) costs $2,855 or $571 annually. Note that this includes scheduled servicing only, and not repairs, replacement of parts, or tyres.

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 $1,767.

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 current system is due to be replaced by a ‘nextgen’ ERP system featuring Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-equipped on-board units from mid-2023.

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$6 during the morning peak, whereas between 10pm and 7am there is currently no charge.

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.


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 car parks, Urban RedevelopmentAuthority car parks, and commercial buildings attract 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.

Some banks offer discounts for ‘green’cars, with interest rates of 1.68%, compared to 2.28% for regular petrol or diesel cars. Be aware that these rates exclude all costs, which bump those rates up to around 3.2% and 4.3% respectively.

For a $50,000 loan with a 5-year tenure, a ‘green’ car loan at 1.68 has a $904 monthly installment. A regular car at 2.28% and the same terms has a $929 monthly installment.

After 5 years, you will have repaid your debt in full after having paid around S$5,740 in interest.

Annual running costs

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

Annual car running costs

Depreciation $11,222
Road Tax $742
Fuel $3,002
Maintenance $571
Insurance $1,767
Total $17,304

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 Hybrid

The average cost of a compact car in January 2022 is around S$131,592.

Average annual fuel consumption is $2,861 (17,500km annually).

Since 2019, the average price of a compact car has increased by $32,330, or 33%, and the COE premium has increased by $25,009 at the same time.

Average Cost of Compact Car in Singapore (2011-2020)


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 Qashqai in Singapore (2011-2020)


Large luxury sedan

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

The average initial cost of a large luxury sedan in Jan 2022 is $294,496.

Average annual fuel consumption is $3,079 (17,500km annually).

The average price for this category has increased by 6% since 2010.

Average Cost of Large Luxury Sedans in Singapore (2011-2020)


Singapore car prices versus global 2022

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).

Thanks to the vehicle tax structure and COE prices, Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to buy a car. Here’s how Singapore compares to selected countries around the world for the cost of a Volkswagen Golf:

Annual car running costs

Country Price of car in USD
(Volkswagen Golf Life)
Singapore $154,900
Thailand $94,724
Germany $43,312
Japan $34,777
Australia $32,977

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 29% - calculated by how much longer drivers spend on their commute during peak hours compared to non-peak hours.

This is a 2% increase in traffic congestion from the previous year’s 27%, according to the study carried out by TomTom.

Singapore ranks better than London which has a congestion level of 33% (55th place) and New York with 35% congestion levels (43rd place). The prohibitive costs of cars here have a part to play in reducing traffic jams on the island compared to other developed countries. Another factor is the improvements that have been made to public transport over the years. “The improved public transport system – like more buses and new trains – has helped keep congestion manageable,” said Mr Gopinath Menon, transport consultant and senior research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in an interview with Torque magazine. With bike lanes sprouting up all over the island, more people are also cycling. The ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) has also helped keep traffic speeds reasonable in the city area. Staggered working hours during the Covid pandemic further regulated the evening rush and also accounts for lower traffic congestion in 2020 and 2021.

In 2015 Singapore had a congestion level of 31%, the same as was recorded in 2018. In 2021, the congestion level was 29%. Since 2015, congestion levels have decreased by 2%. Despite this, however, it must be noted that Singapore drivers still spend about 105 hours a year of extra time in traffic.

This shows that although car ownership here is lower than in most other countries, car owners tend to drive often as they feel a need to make feel use of their vehicle having paid such exorbitant amounts for it.

Citations ec4c8b6b4e94&resource_id=7a913480-0de4-45b8-b922-18166d10d7db


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.