Purchasing a car in Singapore has become even more costly. However, the increased expenses are not due to the actual car price but rather the price of the "certificate of entitlement" that residents must obtain to be eligible to purchase a car.
In Singapore, anyone wishing to own a car must participate in a bid for a "certificate of entitlement" (COE), which is valid for ten years. In October, the price of a COE for large family cars reached a new record high, exceeding $106,000. This cost is what residents must pay solely for the certificate, before they even buy the actual car.
Singapore introduced the COE system in 1990 as a means of regulating the number of vehicles on the city's roads. The government determines the number of available COEs, which is influenced by the number of older cars taken off the road. These certificates are auctioned off every two weeks, with the price varying according to the vehicle category.
Notably, the price for a certificate for a large family car is now over four times higher than it was in 2020 when demand for new cars was lower. Even for the cheapest category of cars, a certificate still costs more than $76,000.
According to the BBC, the cost of a new Toyota Camry Hybrid in Singapore, including the COE, is nearly $183,000, which is about six times more expensive than the same car in the United States. Consequently, owning a car in Singapore is prohibitively expensive for many residents, especially considering the average salary in the country is around $51,000.
However, Singapore's residents do have access to one of the world's best public transport systems. This robust public transportation network offers a viable and cost-effective alternative to car ownership for many Singaporeans.