Adjust costs of owning a car

Adjust costs of owning a car

It may be true that there are fewer car owners in Singapore, compared with cities like New York, Tokyo and London ("Why Singapore still needs more cars"; March 20).

However, we still have roughly 550,000 to 600,000 private vehicles, with 45 per cent of households owning at least one car ("Big Idea No. 1: A 'less-car' Singapore"; Feb 8, 2014).

Singapore's land area is also a petite 716 sq km, compared with Tokyo's close to 2,200 sq km, and London's and New York City's more than 1,000 sq km.

We pay an exorbitant price for a car in Singapore, thereby turning it into a status symbol.

The punitive costs of running a car, as a penalty for the congestion and pollution it creates, are also not sufficient to deter its use.

Consequently, it is the general trend to clock as many kilometres on our cars as possible to bring down the cost per kilometre, because capital depreciation is the single most expensive item in owning a car in Singapore.

A zero car growth policy can be ambition-stifling for the young. But we can solve this by crafting policies so that car ownership is affordable, but indiscriminate car use in the Central Business District during working days is penalised by Electronic Road Pricing fees, petrol costs and parking levies.

In the CBD, car driving would be discouraged if more space is devoted to a more salubrious living and walking environment for pedestrians. Space for parking should be severely curtailed and exorbitantly charged.

Own an exotic supercar, by all means, and polish it every day as a showpiece trophy.

But drive it only on weekends or up-country, otherwise be prepared to pay far more.

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