Budgeting Car Insurance On The Road

2024 Car Owners' Guide: Cost Of Owning A Car In Singapore

byNicholas Yeo
  • Dec 15, 2023
  • 7 mins
driving wheel in car

Dreaming of owning a car in Singapore? Don't let unforeseen expenses burst your bubble! Before taking the plunge, it's vital to grasp the full cost of car ownership in the little red dot. Purchasing a car in Singapore is a significant investment that requires careful consideration. While owning a car can provide convenience and flexibility, it also comes at a cost.

Singapore is the most expensive city in the world to own a car (Source: CNA) due to the high costs associated with purchasing and maintaining a vehicle. That is why when you are considering owning a car in Singapore, it is crucial to understand the various costs involved to make an informed decision.

From the initial purchase price to registration fees, taxes, car loans, maintenance costs, road tax, miscellaneous expenses, and car insurance, the expenses can add up quickly. If you are a parent, there are additional considerations to think about when purchasing a car in Singapore such as ensuring your vehicle is equipped with safety features such as child car seats or opting for a bigger car model with ample legroom and storage capacity to accommodate your children and their belongings.

That's why in this guide, we will provide you with a comprehensive breakdown of the various costs involved in owning a car in Singapore. So if you're dreaming of hitting the road in style, buckle up and read on. Don't let the high costs of car ownership in Singapore hold you back from living your dreams – with the right information and knowledge, you can make car ownership a reality.


Purchasing a car in Singapore can be costly due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system. The COE is a permit that grants vehicle owners the right to register, own, and use their cars on Singapore’s roads for ten years. The price of COE is determined by the demand for vehicles and the supply of COEs available. As a result, COE prices fluctuate and can range from $0 to over $100,000.

Category Latest COE Price in Nov 1st Bidding Latest COE Price in Nov 2nd Bidding Bids Received
A (Cars up to 1,600cc & 110KW) $95,689 $85,001 1,291
B (Cars above 1,600cc or 110KW) $110,001 $135,336 1,228
E (Open - All except Motorcycles) $125,011 $135,002 323


When purchasing a car in Singapore, the initial cost can be steep. For instance, a sedan typically costs around S$120,000, while a small SUV/crossover costs S$135,000, and a luxury car can set you back around S$190,000.

This price includes the cost of the vehicle itself (determined by its Open Market Value (OMV) ) and the price of obtaining a COE, which regulates the number of vehicles in Singapore.

Additional costs include a Registration Fee, Additional Registration Fee, and the first payment of road tax. Depending on the car's carbon emissions, it may also be subject to a Carbon Emission-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) surcharge or rebate.

Owning a car in Singapore comes with several one-time taxes and fees, including the registration fee and taxes. Typically, they will be factored into the sum total of the cost price of buying a car.

Aside from the S$220 Registration Fee (RF), car owners will have to foot the Additional Registration Fee (ARF), which scales off the OMV of your car and is determined following this structure:

First S$20,000 100%
Next S$30,000 140%
Next S$30,000 180%
Above $80,000 220%

However, car owners can recoup the cost of the ARF if they deregister their car before owning it for 10 years through the Preferential Additional Registration Fee (PARF) rebate system.

All owners also have to pay an Excise Duty that is 20% of the car's OMV in addition to the typical Goods & Services Tax of 8% on all consumption goods.

Singapore encourages environmentally friendly cars through the CEVS, offering rebates for low-emission cars and surcharges for high-emission cars. Depending on the car, the CEVS could decrease or increase its price by up to about S$30,000.

Besides the fees and taxes factored into the initial cost of purchasing a car, ownership comes with recurring and mandatory expenses. These include insurance costs, loan repayments, maintenance costs, and road tax.

singapore city with cars on road

Financing a vehicle with a car loan is a common option for many car owners in Singapore.

However, taking out a car loan means having to make monthly car loan repayments, which can be costly. The interest rate for car loans in Singapore can range from 2.28% to 2.88% per annum, depending on the loan tenure and the car's OMV.

Even if you took out a car loan of S$60,000 at an interest rate of 1.99% to purchase a new Toyota Corolla Altis, you would need to pay S$813.79 per month to pay it off in seven years, as per the Monetary Association of Singapore (MAS) regulations. Bearing in mind the cost of monthly loan repayments is crucial when considering buying a car.

As a car owner in Singapore, maintenance costs are an inevitable expense. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, tyre rotations, and brake pad replacements, is essential to keep your car in good condition and ensure it remains safe to drive. The cost of regular maintenance can vary depending on the car's make and model and the frequency of maintenance required.

To keep your car in good condition and minimise the chances of it breaking down, it's important to pay for regular servicing at the intervals recommended by the car manufacturer. The cost of servicing can depend on factors such as the mileage of the car, its engine capacity, and whether it's a luxury vehicle. For example, two servicing appointments for a Toyota Corolla Altis would cost around S$621 per year.

The recommended maintenance schedule is typically every 10,000 km or every six months, whichever comes first. Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your car in optimal condition, ensuring you get the most out of it while minimising the likelihood of costly breakdowns.

Road tax is a recurring cost that all car owners in Singapore must pay every six months for their Singapore-registered vehicles. The amount of road tax you pay depends on the engine capacity of your vehicle, which is measured in cubic centimetres (cc).

As your car's engine capacity increases, the amount of road tax you'll have to pay also increases, making this a tax on your fuel usage. Even if you drive an electric car (EV), you will still need to pay road tax. While your road tax varies according to your engine capacity, an estimated average annual cost is $568.

woman in car driving and looking at phone

Apart from the costs we've discussed earlier, owning a car in Singapore also comes with other miscellaneous expenses. These include parking fees, ERP charges, and car accessories. Parking fees vary depending on the location, but estimated annual costs can range from $1,320.

Singapore's Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system requires drivers to pay for driving on highly congested roads during peak hours. ERP charges are toll charges imposed on vehicles entering an electronic toll collection point, ranging from $0.50 to $4.00 per trip. Additionally, car accessories can also be a significant expense, especially if you want to customise your car with additional features such as leather seats or a new audio system.

In addition to the above costs, drivers in Singapore also need to account for the recurring cost of petrol and parking. For example, a Toyota Corolla Altis gets an average of 15.4 kilometres per litre, and given petrol prices currently hovering at around S$2.90/litre, driving 17,500 kilometres in one year in this car would cost S$3,295.

One cost that you should not overlook when owning a car in Singapore is car insurance. Car insurance is a legal requirement in Singapore, and it can protect you from financial losses in case of an accident or theft. There are various types of car insurance available in Singapore, including third-party insurance, third-party fire and theft insurance, and comprehensive insurance.

Third-party insurance covers the damages and injuries caused to third parties in an accident. It does not cover your own vehicle. Third-party fire and theft insurance, on the other hand, covers damages and injuries caused to third parties as well as theft and fire damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive insurance covers all of the above, including damages to your own vehicle.

Income’s DrivoTM car insurance provides coverage for loss or damage to your car due to accidental causes, third-party liability, and personal accident benefits. We also offer optional add-ons such as roadside assistance and wellness cover1 protection as well as excess waiver cover2. That’s not all - Orange Force, our accident response team, ensures that you receive roadside accident assistance from anywhere in Singapore within 20 minutes.

Investing in a good car insurance policy is essential to protect your car given its cost. With Income’s suite of comprehensive and affordable car insurance coverage options, you can have peace of mind knowing that your car is protected in case of an accident or theft.

Nicholas is a proficient writer who possesses a keen interest in disseminating knowledge on various subjects. Whether it is pets or matters relating to health and wellness, his articles are consistently informative and captivating, offering readers valuable perspectives and practical recommendations.

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