In Singapore, aspiring car owners must get a COE before they may buy a car.
Every two weeks, they are auctioned off, with the government limiting the total number of certificates that can be acquired. The arrangement has made Singapore the costliest place in the world to buy a car, thanks to taxes and import charges.
According to Land Transport Authority data, a 10-year Certificate of Entitlement, which residents of the affluent city state must obtain before they are even permitted to buy a vehicle, currently costs a record minimum of $76,000 (104,000 Singapore dollars), which is over four times what it cost in 2020.
The Department of Statistics reports, the median monthly family income in Singapore in 2022 was $7,376 (10,099 Singapore dollars), making cars out of the grasp of the typical citizen.
First and foremost, the government imposes significant taxes and fees on cars to manage congestion and reduce pollution. The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) is a prime example. It’s a quota system that restricts the number of vehicles on the road, and bidding for a COE can cost tens of thousands of dollars, which is non-refundable. In addition to the COE, buyers must also pay registration fees, additional registration fees, and an excise duty based on the car’s Open Market Value (OMV).
Moreover, there are recurring expenses such as road tax, high fuel prices due to limited natural resources, parking fees, and maintenance costs. The cost of parking in Singapore’s limited space can be astronomical, particularly in the central business district. For many, it’s more economical to rely on the efficient public transportation system, which includes buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, to get around the city.
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