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Is it worth owning a car in Singapore?

Is it worth it to own a car in Singapore?

Cars have often been the subject of hot debate in here, whether its value justifies its price.

The most common factor that we often hear is the cost. Singapore, being such a small country, has public transport readily accessible almost everywhere. Going to the Zoo? There’s a shuttle bus that leaves from Khatib Station every 10 to 20 minutes. Marina Bay Sands? Bayfront Station on the circle line and you’re there. Sentosa? Head to Harbourfront Station followed by 2 to 3 stops on the monorail and you’ll be soaking up the sun in no time!

Like all questions that we often ask ourselves before we make a purchase, the good should always outweigh the bad. In this little short post, we’ll be sharing our thoughts as well as some pros and cons of whether it is truly worth it to own a car in Singapore.

Price

Car ownership here is very unique compared to other parts of the world where cars are not locked behind a 10-year ownership scheme and high taxation costs. There are a number of additional costs to take note of including

  • Road Tax - $600 annually ($120 monthly)
  • Certificate of Entitlement (COE)
  • Insurance Cost - $1200 annually ($100 monthly)
  • Monthly Loan Interests – $400
  • ERP costs - $50
  • Parking costs (Season or gantry) - $80 season parking at HDB
  • Petrol costs - $300 Pump once every 10 days

We’ve taken some rough costs from colleagues in office who owns a car and averaged the values out so you can see that the monthly upkeep would amount to somewhere between $1000 or more. Compared to purchasing a bus or train concession for $50 per month, that’s almost a 20x cost increase! This is also not taking into account servicing and maintenance fee of the car which can cost a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on how much additional modifications you desire.

 

Time is Money

However, having said that, one cannot deny the freedom and peace of mind that comes with owning a car when you need to get from point A to B.

For one, you do not have to follow the bus/train schedule but instead have the luxury to choose when and where you want to go. This is especially true when you need to go to certain areas that is out of the way. For instance, using our example above, travelling to the Zoo from Changi would require well over an hour one-way, this is excluding time spent waiting and travelling to the bus stop/MRT station. Compared to driving which would take 20mins via the expressway. Thus the time saved is almost (40mins * 2 ways) 1hr 20mins!

Late night basketball session? Or just a late night supper catching up with old friends? You can travel anywhere and anytime you like! Additionally, parking at quite a number of places are relatively cheap after peak hours - $1.20 per hour after 7pm or even $2.40 per entry at major shopping malls such as Plaza Singapura.

The convenience of owning a car is further emphasised when there are children or elderly folks in the family. You have the freedom to travel out to almost anywhere in Singapore for a meal or to visit without the hassle of walking long distances under the sweltering heat!

 

Conclusion

So…Is it worth owning a car in Singapore? It really depends. What is the purpose of the car? Are you able to financially afford one? These are the two questions you should ask yourself.

On one hand, the cost to maintain and own one can be rather high given the costings that we have done above but the value that it provides in terms cannot be written off. For a couple with a newborn child or elderly parents, the car could mean convenience and not having to squeeze on public transport. Travelling to work and coming home faster also means more time spent with family or more free time to get chores done. This also indirectly saves money since you don’t have to spend money engaging a domestic helper.

As mentioned, financing it is also a crucial factor as going out of your way to purchase one by taking on more loans and high interest rates can backfire and cause even more financial burden.

At the end of the day, some value the time saved over its cost while others might feel otherwise. There is no right or wrong answer in this scenario. But hopefully our short post provided some insights to help you make that decision!

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