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Singapore and the Cost of Owning a Car

You've probably heard of the movie franchise The Fast and the Furious by now. They're only on movie six or something. And earn a lot at the box office.

Now, this isn't really about the movies. This is about the actors in the latest movie and their reactions to the cost of buying a car in Singapore. Which is… funny. 😀

See, I'm betting that, unless you live in Singapore or have specifically read up about car ownership in Singapore, you couldn't guess car prices here, either.

Watch the video. When you're done, read my further comments below the video.

WATCH: Hollywood stars shocked by Singapore car prices

I saw this video through The Straits Times. And yes, I found it hilarious. 😀

Now, on to the explanation behind car prices in Singapore…

If you want to own a car (or other vehicle) in Singapore, you first need a COE, or Certificate Of Entitlement. You have to buy that, and it's done on a bidding system. At one point in the last year, the price for a COE for the smallest car was close to S$90,000. At this time, it's around S$65,000.

After you get your COE, you can buy a car. Which has taxes on it. One is the ARF (Additional Registration Fee). Which has a tiered tax approach – 100% the cost of the vehicle on the first S$20k, 140% on the next S$30k, and 180% for the cost above S$50,000. So a S$75,000 car would have an ARF of (S$20,000 + S$42,000 + S$45,000) = S$107,000.

Then there's excise duty at 20% which, for a S$75,000 car is S$15,000.

So far, that S$75,000 car costs S$75,000 (car) + S$65,000 (COE) + S$107,000 (ARF) + S$15,000 (duty) = S$262,000.

There are other smaller fees, like registration, that amounts to a hundred or so dollars. In the grand scheme of things, relatively minor. And there may be other fees that I'm not aware of – I haven't looked into vehicle ownership in any amount of detail. But I think you see my point – owning a vehicle in Singapore is expensive.

Why? To discourage the use of vehicles. To keep roadways as uncongested as possible. To promote the use of public transportation.

Public transportation in Singapore? It's cheap, efficient, and it works great. It costs us half as much to get anywhere in Singapore as it does in Auckland, New Zealand, for example. It's cheaper to get around in Singapore by public transportation in 2013 than it was in, say, Vancouver, BC fifteen years ago. And public transportation can get you pretty much anywhere on this island – there are four main train lines that intersect at various points with each other and with a few smaller local feeder train lines, all of which connect with buses that also go everywhere. Public transportation in Singapore, despite its occasional faults and the crush of rush hour, works beautifully.

As for us? We take public transportation. Gladly. 🙂

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