The Cost of Car Ownership in Singapore

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Possessing a car in the most expensive city in the world is not for the faint of heart, and in Singapore there are many costs to consider besides the retail value.

Possessing a car in the most expensive city in the world is not for the faint of heart, and in Singapore there are many costs to consider besides the retail value. Let us take the wheel (no pun intended) as we guide you through some of the additional charges to take note of when purchasing your next ride.

To put things into perspective, we’ll be using a Toyota Corolla Altis as a reference. A new model costs $94,988 as of January 2020 and you can expect to pay about $1,473 a year on car insurance, $621 for servicing/maintenance costs, $742 in road tax as well as $2,341 worth of petrol.

Purchase Price

There is always a pressing need to limit the number of cars on the roads in land-scarce Singapore. As a deterrence, the purchase price usually consists of the following.

  1. Price of the car itself (OMV)
  2. Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
  3. Registration Fee
  4. Additional Registration Fee
  5. First Road Tax payment
  6. VES surcharge/rebate (depending on car’s carbon emission)

In addition to these, there are also other costs tied to car ownership such as insurance, loan repayments, maintenance and subsequent road tax.

Insurance Premiums

Insurance firms often take into consideration several factors such as age, driving experience and occupation when it comes to your annual insurance premiums. How much you would be required to pay depends on the risks of you getting involved in a car accident and filing for a claim. According to a study, an average amount that a male driver in his 40s pays for comprehensive car insurance equates to about $1,479 annually.

Car Loans

Chances are, you will be taking out a car loan if you do decide to purchase a car. In 2019, the average car loan across Singapore was roughly $60,000. Assuming this is the sum you borrow from DBS to pay for a new Toyota Corolla Altis and the interest rate is at 2.28%. You are then given at most 7 years to repay your debt as per MAS regulations. This means you will have to set aside $829 every month in order to fulfil your obligations.

Road Tax

Another inevitable cost that comes along with car ownership is the road tax that is due after every 6 months. The amount payable is proportionate to the engine capacity of your car; the larger it is the more road tax you will have to fork out. In this case, a Toyota Corolla Altis is usually charged about $742 per year. A 10-year COE would therefore, be equivalent to a total of $7,420 taxed.

Parking, ERP and Petrol

The costs keep rising regardless of whether your car is in motion or stationary. When it is not in use, parking is what’s draining your wallet. Season parking at an HDB estate is generally $110 per month, this amount runs higher if we add in parking at a workplace while we can assume miscellaneous parking to be around $50 a month.

When it comes to keeping your car moving, a full tank on the Toyota Corolla Altis gives you approximately 660km based on an average of 12km/l. If advertised figures are to be believed, you could be making a trip to the gas station about 1.5 times each month after every 30km driven. This would effectively cost you somewhere around $165 per month under the assumption that its $2 per litre.

When we talk about roads in Singapore, ERP charges are bound to be a bane for any driver. For the purpose of this article, we can take it to be $50 each month. Add these numbers up and you’ll be looking at $240 each month, and a total of $45,000 across a 10-year period.

Servicing

This is a trickier subject as how much you end up paying for servicing would depend on several factors such as your frequency of car usage and the effort you put in into maintaining it. For starters, the first 5 years after purchase should be relatively smooth with regular servicing. As your car gets older however, the probability of major servicing having to replace parts naturally increases. To protect your car and your wallet at the same time, it is highly recommended that you adhere to the advice of the carmaker when it comes to maintenance. For most Singaporeans who drive under 20,000km in a year, a visit to the workshop every 6 months would suffice.

Hence, you can set aside $300 for servicing and another $5,000 for the replacement of parts. This would rough up your expenditures to $8,000 after 10 years.

Summary

Type of Cost (Toyota Corolla Altis)

Cost (Over 10 years)

Car

$85,064

Interest

$8,938

Road Tax

$7,420

Insurance

$15,000

Parking, ERP, Petrol

$45,000

Servicing

$8,000

Total

$169,422

As you can see from our guide, the costs of owning a car goes beyond just the retail price. In the case of the Toyota Corolla Altis, the total costs over a 10-year period hovers around $169,422 based on our estimates. It would therefore be wise to evaluate for yourself whether you would be willing and capable of forking out more than $160,000 to own a set of wheels for the next decade.

Verdict

What we like
- Luxurious feel
- Large telematics touchscreen
- Extremely spacious
What we do not like
- Lack of automatic boot for auto close
- Drive shaft even though it is a front wheel drive
Editor’s recommendation
The Toyota Camry has successfully done a full model change that is significantly sportier and aesthetically better looking compared to its predecessor. It does not feel you are getting a second class car as compared to equivalent continental class cars, yet the cost savings are substantial.

Specifications

Toyota-camry-gear-knob.jpg
A car that negates risk

Verdict

What we like
- Luxurious feel
- Large telematics touchscreen
- Extremely spacious
What we do not like
- Lack of automatic boot for auto close
- Drive shaft even though it is a front wheel drive
Editor’s recommendation
The Toyota Camry has successfully done a full model change that is significantly sportier and aesthetically better looking compared to its predecessor. It does not feel you are getting a second class car as compared to equivalent continental class cars, yet the cost savings are substantial.

Specifications

Toyota-camry-gear-knob.jpg
A car that negates risk

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