Buying a car is the next most expensive investment after buying a house in Singapore. Additional costs that also come with car ownership makes one think twice. When you can easily Grab from place to place, is car ownership here still worthwhile?

We list the different transportation options available to you, along with its costs, so you can easily make a decision.

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Should I buy a car? If not, what are the alternatives?

TransportCost/ month


$1,300 - $1,500

Rental Car

$1,500 - $2,000

Conventional Taxi

$900 - $1,200

PHV (Grab and Gojek)

$600 - $1,000

Bus and Train



1. Buying a car

Image result for car showroom singapore
Image Credit: The Business Times

Singapore cars are the most expensive in the world. Even before the additional costs of petrol, insurance and road tax, owning a car is truly an expensive investment.

Owning a car approximately costs $160,000 in total over a ten year period (assuming the car is an economy car with engine capacity of 1,500 CC such as a Toyota Corolla).

However, it remains the most convenient form of transport for many. So should you consider buying a car in Singapore?

Should buy a car if you:Should NOT buy a car if you:

Can afford to spend a huge amount upfront

Cannot bear the additional costs such as petrol, insurance, road tax, servicing

Will utilise it every day for a long term (more than five years)

Travel a lot and hardly stay in town

Travel up North to Malaysia often

Not too fond of going across the causeway

Live somewhere with less accessible public transport

Live within five minutes of a bus stop or train station


Cost breakdown

Vehicle ownership requirementsCost (Rough estimates)

Car loan (1,500 CC) (per year)

$8,000 - $10,000

Insurance (per year)

$1,400 - $1,600

Servicing (per year)

$1,000 - $1,300

Petrol (per year)

$2,200 - $2,500

Road tax (for 1,500 CC per year)


Season parking (per year)


The costs above assume that the car purchased is a 1,500 CC car with a COE of $26,000 (as of Jan 2019). Also, this includes the assumption that you drive a maximum of 30 km a day and that you service your car at least three times a year.

  • Total cost/year: $14,244 – $17,040
  • Cost/month: $1,187 – $1,420 (average 1,500 CC car)

2. Renting a car

Image result for car rental singapore parking lot
Image Credit: The Straits Times

Your next best option is renting a car if you don’t think you should buy a car after looking at our recommendations.

If you’re still looking to drive but want some flexibility and hate long-term financial commitments, renting might work best for you.

Should rent a car if you:Should NOT rent a car if you:

Like to pay for everything (tax, maintenance, insurance) in one fee

Prefer to source for your own insurance and maintenance provider

Travel out of town often (approximately a week every month)

Plan to drive often for a period of five to ten years

Are in Singapore only for work for a period of less than five years

Stay in Singapore permanently and plan to stay 

Don't plan to drive into Malaysia

Plan to drive into Malaysia 

Don't mind older car models

Are picky with the vehicle you drive


  • Cost/month: $1,500 – $2,000 (average 1,500 CC car)

3. Conventional taxi

Image result for taxis singapore
Image Credit: The Straits Times

The arrival of ride-sharing companies has changed the taxi industry in Singapore. Ride-sharing has relatively lower fares and increased the convenience of bookings. The conventional taxi now seems like a remnant of the past desperately clinging onto changing times.

Should flag a taxi if you:Should NOT flag a taxi if you:

Are not tech-savvy

Prefer doing everything through an app

Like to make conversation with taxi drivers

Prefer to keep to yourself during rides


  • Cost/ day: $30 – $40 (2 rides)
  • Cost/ month: $900 – $1,200

4. Private Hire Vehicle

Image result for grab singapore
Image Credit: Tech in Asia

Ride-sharing is arguably the most popular mode of travelling in Singapore. With attractive fares and convenience, it is easy to see why. Despite rare incidences of reckless and irresponsible drivers, it is still largely considered safe and reliable.

But if you have a driving license, is ride-sharing still the best way to go?

Should book a PHV if you:Should NOT book a PHV if you:

Like to be driven around at an affordable rate

Prefer driving and choosing your own routes to avoid ERP

Like to maximise your time while commuting but need some privacy

Like people-watching and crowds

Go out late often to knock back a few pints with friends

If you're perfectly sober 24/7 and prefer driving yourself

Want to lessen your carbon footprint

Don't believe in climate change


  • Cost/ day: $20 – $35 (2 rides)
  • Cost/ month: $600 – $1,050

5. Public transport (Train & Bus)

Image result for public transport singapore happy
Image Credit: Nestia

Definitely the cheapest mode of transport in Singapore (if you discount bicycles, e-scooters and your own two legs). However, with occasional train breakdowns and bigger crowds, commuting on public transport can occasionally be a hassle.

Should ride public transport if you:Should NOT ride public transport if you:

Want to save the most you can

Prefer spending on luxury and comfort

Live a stone's throw away from a train station or bus stop

Live in ulu areas

Don't mind spending more time and effort to save money

Despise crowds and standing

Want to be environmentally friendly

Think global warming is fake 


  • Cost/ month: $120 (concession)

Only if you can really afford it

In the most expensive city in the world, spending nearly $200,000 over ten years on a single item can be unthinkable for some. If you cannot afford a car, there are other reliable means of transport in Singapore. Furthermore, public transport will become increasingly accessible with the opening of new MRT lines in the near future.

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