Transport transition: car-free city – in Singapore it costs 100,000 euros to register a car

If you want to register a car in Singapore, you have to buy a permit, which costs the equivalent of 100,000 euros for a simple car like the Toyota Camry.

Transport transition: car-free city – in Singapore it costs 100,000 euros to register a car

If you want to register a car in Singapore, you have to buy a permit, which costs the equivalent of 100,000 euros for a simple car like the Toyota Camry. Since 1990, the city-state has been working to reduce the number of vehicles. An ever smaller quota drives prices up because the certificates (Certificate of Entitlement - COE) are put out to tender and increased according to bids. They are sold in auctions every two weeks, with the government controlling the number of certificates available for sale. There are different types of COE for smaller cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.

A car like the Camry costs around 100,000 euros, which is four times the price in 2020. A small car costs around 70,000 euros COE. But these are not the only taxes. A Camry Hybrid costs 180,000 euros including the certificate, registration fees and taxes; a corresponding car costs around 35,000 euros in the EU. The COE is not valid forever. It expires after ten years, ensuring the city has a continuous source of income. So two COE are needed for the entire life of the car.

The number of vehicles is limited in the city-state; fewer than a million are registered, with a population of 5.9 million. Public transport is very well developed and, due to the situation of a real city-state, there is no sprawling surrounding area. The government is prioritizing the expansion of public transport. A car is out of reach for normal incomes. Because of the rising prices of registration certificates, it is more interesting for many people to sell their car and make a profit. As a result of the Covid pandemic, COE prices fell sharply, but are now rising again.

Singapore has different priorities than German cities, for example. Owning a private car is heavily taxed, but the construction of apartments is supported. A small, state-subsidized apartment only costs around 90,000 euros.

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