What Is The Cost Of Owning A Car In Singapore?

A car is possibly the biggest purchase you might make aside from buying a house. We always hear or know that owning a car, especially in Singapore, is expensive. But do you know the actual cost of owning a car in Singapore?

First, what makes a car so expensive to own in Singapore?

Singapore has a total land area of 721.5km2. Given the land scarcity, building more roads is not sustainable. Roads only occupy 12% of Singapore’s land area, as compared to 14% for housing. 

Hence, the government has several measures in place to manage the level of vehicle population, making buying and maintaining a vehicle in Singapore an expensive luxury. 

Was your car loan application recently rejected? Find out about in-house loans and how they can help you. 

Full Breakdown: The Cost Of Owning A Car In Singapore

To illustrate, we’ll use the Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Standard to show the breakdown of the cost of owning a car in Singapore:

Infographic on the full breakdown of owning a car in Singapore, using Toyota Corolla Altis as an example
COE is one reason why it’s so expensive to own a car in Singapore.

In fact, the high cost of owning a car in Singapore has made it the world’s priciest city. 

Here, we take a closer look at the costs involved in owning a car in the country. 

1. Certificate Of Entitlement (COE)

This term is something most Singaporeans would have heard of. A Certificate of Entitlement (COE) gives you the right to register, own, and use a vehicle in Singapore. Before you purchase a car, you will need to get a COE first.

The COE is used to control Singapore’s car population. It lasts for 10 years and is one of the biggest reasons why owning a car in Singapore costs so much.

COE prices fluctuate based on market demand. Hence, the higher the number of people bidding for it, the higher the COE prices will be. 

There are 2 bidding exercises by LTA every month, held on the first and third Monday of every month. Due to COVID-19, the bidding exercises were put on hold. However, it has since resumed as of Monday, 6 July 2020.

There are 5 categories of COE:

COE Vehicle CategoriesPrices as of March 2020
Category ACar 1,600cc and below with engine power not more than 97kWS$35,710
Category BCar above 1,600cc or with engine power not more than 97kWS$38,802
Category CGoods vehicles and busesS$25,006
Category DMotorcyclesS$7,432
Category EOpen (any other kind of vehicles) – except motorcyclesS$38,110

Source: LTA

At an engine capacity of 1,598 cc, the Toyota Corolla Altis has a COE of S$35,710

2. Open Market Value (OMV)

The Open Market Value (OMV) is determined by the Singapore Customs. It is based on the actual price paid for the vehicle when it is imported to Singapore.

The OMV price includes:

  • Purchase price
  • Freight cost
  • Insurance
  • Incidental charges related to the sale and delivery of the car 
  • Other charges incurred during sale and delivery of car to Singapore

In short, it is the cost of a car before taxes, entitlement, and top-ups. 

As of June 2020, the Toyota Corolla Altis has an OMV of S$19,678

3. Registration Fee

A Registration Fee of S$220 will also be charged upon registration of a new car.

4. Additional Registration Fee (ARF)

The Additional Registration Fee (ARF) is a form of tax imposed upon registering for a new car. 

ARF is calculated based on the OMV of the car:

OMV of VehicleAdditional Registration Fee (ARF) Rate
First S$20,000100% of OMV
Next S$20,001 to S$50,000140% of Incremental OMV
Above S$50,000180% of Incremental OMV

Source: LTA

Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) rebates (if any) will be subtracted from the above-listed values.

The ARF is a significant expense. However, you can recoup the cost if you deregister your car through scrapping or exporting before it turns 10 years old through the Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF). This scheme is to ensure a young and roadworthy fleet for smooth flowing traffic. 

As the OMV of the Toyota Corolla Altis is within S$20,000, the ARF to be paid will be S$19,678

5. Excise Duty

Excise duty is another form of tax on registering a car. 

A car falls under 1 of the 4 categories that are liable for excise duty — alcohol, cigarettes, motor vehicles, and petrol and biodiesel. 

The excise duty of a car is 20% of its OMV. 

This means that the excise duty to be paid for the Toyota Corolla Altis will be: 

0.2 x S$19,678 = S$3,935.60. 

6. Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES)

To reduce carbon emissions and pollutants, the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) is introduced to incentivise buyers to choose vehicles that are more environmentally friendly. 

This is done by giving rebates. The scheme was proven to be effective and will be extended till 31st December 2020.

Since 1 January 2018, all new cars, taxis, and newly imported cars registered are assessed based on their emissions of pollutants: 

  • Carbon dioxide
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Carbon monoxide 
  • Nitrogen oxides 
  • Particulate matter 

You will enjoy a rebate or pay a surcharge, depending on the band your vehicle falls under.

If your vehicle is registered between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2020, here are the rebates or surcharges that your vehicle will be subjected to. 

BandCarbon dioxide (g/km)Hydrocarbon (g/km)Carbon monoxide (g/km)Nitrogen oxide (g/km)Particulate matter* (mg/km)Rebate**Surcharge
A1A1≤90A1≤0.020A1≤0.150A1≤0.007A1= 0.0S$20,000
B125< B≤1600.036<B≤0.0520.190<B≤0.2700.013<B≤0.0240.3<B≤0.5
C1160< C1≤1850.052<C1≤0.0750.270<C1≤0.3500.024<C1≤0.0300.5<C1≤2.0S$10,000

*Not applicable to vehicles registered from 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2018.  

**Subject to a minimum payment of S$5,000 for ARF

Source: LTA

If you register a car under bands A1 and A2, you will qualify for the rebate. However, no matter the difference, you will still have to pay a minimum ARF of S$5,000. 

If your car falls under bands C1 and C2, you will have to pay an emission surcharge on top of your ARF.

Other Charges

A man repairing a car
Car servicing is one of the costs to take into account when you own a car in Singapore.

On top of paying the charges mentioned earlier when you first buy the car, you will have to pay other charges like road tax. 

1. Road Tax 

The bigger the engine of your car, the higher the road tax you will have to pay for. All vehicle owners need to have a valid road tax for their vehicles before they can be used on the roads. 

Most road taxes are renewable on a 6-month or yearly basis. 

The road tax is calculated as follows:

Engine Capacity (EC) in cc6-Monthly Road Tax
EC ≤ 600S$200 x 0.782
600 < EC ≤ 1,000[S$200 + S$0.125(EC – 600)] x 0.782
1,000 < EC ≤ 1,600 [S$250 + S$0.375(EC – 1,000)] x 0.782
1,600 < EC ≤ 3,000[S$475 + S$0.75(EC – 1,600)] x 0.782
EC > 3,000[S$1,525 + S$1(EC – 3000)] x 0.782

Source: LTA

Given that Toyota Corolla Altis car has an engine capacity of 1,598 cc, the annual road tax will be: 

{[S$250 + S$0.375(1,598 – 1,000)] x 0.782 } x 2 = S$742

2. Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) 

Typically, you do not have to pay any charges if you choose the Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) that is automatically assigned to you by LTA. 

However, if you would like a specific VRN, you will first have to go through a bidding process. Be prepared to spend a lump sum if you are going for a nice, lucky number. 

3. Goods And Services Tax (GST)

Cars are also subjected to GST and are taxed on both the OMV and Excise Duty.

At 7% GST, the total GST to be paid for the Toyota Corolla Altis will be: 

0.07 x (S$19,678 + S$3,935.60) = S$1,652.95

4. Dealer’s Commission 

Dealers usually charge an additional fee to cover their costs and make a profit. The commission can be from 15% of the basic cost for affordable car brands and up to 50% for the luxurious ones.

This basic cost is usually derived from the sum of the OMV, ARF, Excise Duty, GST, COE, and the registration fee. 

Let’s say the dealer’s commission is 25%. This means that the commission for the Toyota Corolla Altis will be: 

0.25 x (S$19,678 + S$19,678 + S$3,935.60 + S$1,652.95 + S$35,710 + S$220) = S$20,218.64. 

5. Insurance

It is a must to have insurance for all vehicles in Singapore. 

If you are found driving a motor vehicle in Singapore without insurance coverage, you will be guilty of an offence. Under the Singapore Motor Vehicles Act, you can be fined up to S$1,000, or charged with imprisonment for up to 3 months, or both.

Insurance rates vary based on factors such as your age and experience, as well as your claims history. 

The cost of insurance for a Toyota Corolla Altis is estimated to be S$1,574

6. Parking

This is another ongoing cost you cannot avoid when you own a car in Singapore. 

For instance, HDB season parking costs between S$90 and S$120 a month. You will also have to factor in other parking costs when you head out.

7. Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)

Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) is charged when you travel through the city centre during peak hours. The rates depend on the location and time you’re driving through the city centre. 

8. Petrol

Another ongoing cost that you will have to bear is petrol costs. The cost depends on your car usage and the type of petrol you use.

Let’s say your car travels 17,500km annually. A standard 95-octane petrol costs S$2.25 per litre. 

Using Toyota Corolla Altis as an example, it can travel for 15.4km per litre of fuel. This gives an annual petrol cost of: 

(17,500km ÷ 15.4 km per litre) x S$2.25 = S$2,557

  1. Maintenance And Servicing

You will also need to consider the costs of maintenance and servicing of the car. It is advised to get your car serviced every 6 months or 10,000km. The maintenance and repairs may also cost more if you happen to run into accidents.

The annual maintenance of Toyota Corolla Altis is estimated to be S$528

How Much Will Everything Cost in Total?

After adding all the components together, here’s the total cost of owning a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6 Standard in Singapore: 

Components of a Toyota Corolla Altis purchase priceAmount
COE S$35,710
Registration feeS$220
ARF 100% of the first S$20,000 of the OMV: S$19,678 
Excise Duty20% of OMV: S$3,935.60
GST7% of OMV and Excise Duty: S$1,652.95
Dealer’s margin (25%)25% of OMV, ARF, Excise Duty, GST, COE, registration fee: S$20,218.64

Source: LTA, MoneySmart, and Dollars and Sense

Not to forget, other recurring and mandatory fees that you will have to bear:

Estimated Annual Car Running CostPrice
Road TaxS$742 
Fuel CostS$2,557

Source: Budget Direct

This is excluding ERP and parking fees as that differs from person to person. 

Now that we have got this straightened out, you might be thinking: How can I afford a car if I have not saved up for one? 

Not to worry, you can apply for a car loan to fund your car purchase. With auto financing, you can still buy a car in Singapore.

What Is Auto Financing?

Auto financing is a type of loan for vehicle purchase. A lot of people in Singapore take out an auto financing loan, especially since the cost of owning a car in Singapore is so high. 

It is provided by banks and private financial institutions to help you fund your vehicle purchase.

As it is a type of secured loan, the vehicle that you will be purchasing will be the collateral. Terms of the auto financing loan will be set by your lender. Some of them include fees, stipulation, penalties, monthly instalment payments, and late payment fees.

Learn more about auto financing loans in Singapore here. 

Given the high cost of owning a car in Singapore, an auto financing in-house loan can help fund your car purchase, freeing up cash for more urgent payments. 

Thinking of applying for a car loan for your new car purchase? Capitall offers in-house auto financing that you can apply for. 


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This period of unexpected circumstances in Singapore is forcing SMEs to face monumental challenges. Businesses from almost every sector have been impacted by the recession and the Covid-19 situation. If your SME business has been hit, you are likely looking for solutions right now to tide through this season. So where does a Singapore SME […]

Business Loan Should You Engage An SME Loan Broker For Your Business In Singapore?

At some point in your business, be it at the start-up or expansion stage, you might find the need for extra funds to push it forward. You might also be wondering if it’s worth engaging the services of an SME loan broker for your business in Singapore.  Would hiring a loan broker add value to […]

Business Loan How Credit Rating Affects Your Business Loan In Singapore

If your business is in need of funds and you’re seriously considering taking a loan, you will need to know the importance of credit ratings. No matter what sort of business you run — a large global business or a local SME, credit ratings play a significant role in helping you secure loans. In fact, […]

Business Loan Getting A Business Loan Doesn’t Have To Be Hard. Read These 4 Tips.

Your business needs that extra funding to allow it to move forward. If you are unsure of which lenders to go to or how to approach them, the process of getting a business loan can be daunting. Borrowers often make the mistake of not doing thorough research on which lenders to approach or the types […]

Business Loan Business Loan In Singapore: All About Expansion Financing

If you own a small-medium enterprise (SME) business that has charted success in consecutive years, you might be thinking of scaling up your business further. The question is whether you have enough resources to see through your plan. This is where taking up a business loan in Singapore in the form of expansion financing could […]

Business Loan Business loan In Singapore: What Is A Bridging Loan And How Can It Help My Business?

What Is A Bridging Loan? A bridging loan is designed to help companies and individuals tide over a short period of financial challenge.  For companies, this is a type of business loan that can be used to increase working capital while waiting for longer-term financing to come in.  To individuals, a bridging loan usually applies […]

Business Loan Business Loan In Singapore: What Is Auto Financing – Car Flooring Loan?

Whether you’re a business owner in the automobile dealer industry or looking to start up your own auto dealership, you’d probably know how expensive inventory for automobiles is. Businesses that have to deal with such huge purchases usually take up business loans in Singapore to manage their inventory and showroom. For a business owner in […]

Business Loan How To Start A Business In Singapore: 6 Simple Ways To Get Funded

Are you a business owner? Do you own an SME in Singapore? Or perhaps you are thinking of finally launching your startup? There are many challenges when it comes to running a business. Businesses that have been around for an extended period of time could be thinking about expansion and growth. On the other hand, […]

Business Loan 5 Reasons Why Your SME Needs a Working Capital Loan

Utilities, staff salaries, inventory, equipment rental — these are just some aspects that make up day-to-day operational costs. To keep your business running, you first need to have enough capital to get it started. And this is perhaps the greatest challenge of most businesses. Working capital is, fundamentally, a term for having money on hand. […]

Business Loan How Does Getting An Sme Working Capital Loan Help My Business?

Taking a working capital loan in Singapore is common among SMEs. In short, a working capital loan is a specialised type of loan designed to help businesses cover daily operational costs.  Unlike other business loans, working capital loans generally do not need you to state the purpose of borrowing, as these loans are short-term and […]

Business Loan Everything You Need To Know About Getting A Working Capital Loan For Your SME In Singapore

It can be challenging running your own business. There are many hurdles SMEs often face — from administrative matters, ideas-generation, to finding enough money to fund your business. Many approach banks and private financiers for SME working capital loans in Singapore when facing such financial difficulties, especially during the initial phases. Working capital loans can […]

Business Loan How Much Should You Get For Your SME Working Capital Loan

If you’ve been following this space, you would know that we’ve been discussing what working capital loans are and how they can benefit SME businesses. Working capital loans help SMEs finance day to day operations and provide short term solutions to pressing challenges such as seasonal fluctuations and downturns. Perhaps your business needs to take […]

Business Loan 9 Things To Ask Before Getting A Business Loan In Singapore

Gone are the days when banks are the default go-to place in getting a business loan in Singapore.  Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) these days have various options ranging from banks to private financial institutions that offer different types of business loans. As your business grows, it would most likely need more financing to expand […]

Business Loan 5 Common Misconceptions On Getting A Business Loan In Singapore

Thinking of striking it out on your own? Do you have big plans and an ambitious vision but don’t have enough capital yet? Getting a business loan in Singapore might just be the first step you need to take! Many business owners hesitate to take a business loan due to a range of reasons. It’s […]

Business Loan Why Your Business Loan In Singapore Might Have Been Rejected

There’s nothing more frustrating than to find out that your business loan application has been rejected.  Business owners look to banks and financial institutions to get business loans for a myriad of reasons. Whether it is to expand, innovate, or to cover day to day operations, having access to funds at the right time is […]

Business Loan Business Loan In Singapore: 6 Tips To Increase Your Approval Chances

Does your business need a loan? Have you already tried applying for loans in the past but got rejected?  In Singapore, it’s almost impossible to go about building up your business without getting a business loan. Having your business loan rejected can be extremely troublesome.  If you have been following this space, we have previously […]

Business Loan 6 Reasons Why SMEs Take Business Loans In Singapore

In Singapore, 65% of the economy is made up of SMEs. From e-commerce startups to financial products, there are all sorts of SMEs in the Singapore market. With a high saturation of competitors in different markets, growing your business is extremely challenging in Singapore.  On top of stiff competition, SMEs also face the challenges of […]

Business Loan Avoid These 6 Mistakes When Applying For A Business Loan In Singapore

Starting a company can be a challenging feat. Not only must you have a good business idea, but you must also get enough capital. That’s not even considering all the countless administrative matters to handle. The first part, getting a good idea, is often already established when the company is founded. However, most companies struggle […]

Business Loan Business Loan Options Every Business Owner Should Know

Thinking of starting a business? Perhaps it has always been a dream to strike it out on your own? If that sounds like you, you are going to need a business loan.  Having enough capital will make a world of difference for your business which is why knowing where to get the best business loan […]

Business Loan SME Working Capital Loan: 6 Types Of Short Term Financing Options To Boost Your Working Capital

Running a business costs money. If you are an experienced business owner, you would know that it is not easy to run a startup in Singapore. From employees’ pay to inventory, or even just turning the lights on, the cost of day to day operations adds up. That is why loans are unavoidable when you […]

Business Loan Working Capital Loan For SMEs: 5 Essential Questions To Ask When Taking One

Have you ever considered taking a business loan to meet the financial needs of your Small and Medium Enterprise (SME)? If yes, you probably have heard of working capital loans for SMEs. In short, working capital is the money companies use for daily operational expenses. Managing your working capital properly can be challenging for an […]

Business Loan Digital Presence and E-Seller loans in Singapore

As the world is moving at a fast pace, the society is converting into a cashless society. People are more likely to be digitally active and doing business. Online selling and buying have become a new business market. The new generation is drawn towards the trend and soon the world will convert into a society […]

Business Loan 7 Ultimate Reasons Why Successful SMEs Get a Business Loan

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) continue to be one of the biggest players in Singapore’s economy. Based on a survey conducted by SME Magazine, SMEs continue to grow amid economic difficulties. The data also showed that the average revenue increases by about 109% than the previous year. As SMEs increases in numbers, we have observed […]

Personal Finance How to Manage Your Finance?

Managing your finances is a very tedious task especially for the ones who don’t understand accounts and finance at all. Most of us, even the ones who have just stepped adulthood have a job. We may have our own startup, work in an MNC, or maybe a government employee. We are here to let you […]

Media CNA | The Entrepreneur 2019

This series celebrates the achievements of 10 businessmen and women who prove to have what it takes to break boundaries and emerge as winners of Singapore’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EYA).

Media sgsme.sg | 10 Business Leaders Recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year

From training aspiring pilots to lending money, 10 local entrepreneurs received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (EYA) 2019.

Media MoneyFM89.3 | The Breakfast Huddle

Find out how local firms are helping F&B SMEs scale their businesses.

Media The Business Times | CEO Conversation: Transforming into a Digital Financial Services Provider

Singapore-based Capital C Corporation has come a long way since the inception of its money lending arm in 2011.

Media e27 | The Case for Alternative Lending

In the last decade, we have witnessed rapid growth in the alternative lending space, with the creation of new business models opening up the range of alternative lending products available.

Media APAC CIO Outlook | How Fintech is Driving Innovative Lending

In Singapore, SMEs account for around two-thirds of the workforce and a large chunk of GDP growth.

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