SINGAPORE. — The cost of a certificate to own a large family car in Singapore has jumped to a fresh record high of S$146,002 (US$106,619; £87,684).

The city-state introduced the 10-year certificate of entitlement (COE) system in 1990 as an anti-congestion measure.

Prospective car owners in Singapore must have a COE in order to be able to purchase a vehicle.

They are sold in auctions every two weeks, with the Government controlling the number of certificates for sale.

With taxes and import duties, the system has made Singapore the most expensive country in the world to buy a car.

For example, a new standard Toyota Camry Hybrid costs around S$250 000 in Singapore, which includes the cost of a COE and taxes. That is about six times more expensive than in the US.

There are different types of COEs for smaller cars, motorcycles and commercial vehicles.

COE prices have hit record highs for several months in a row as a post-pandemic recovery has driven up demand and ahead of the government cutting rebates for the certificates next year.

The lowest COE for a car costs S$104,000, which has almost tripled since 2020 when there was less demand for new cars during the pandemic.

The so-called “Open” category, which has no restrictions on which cars it can be used for, also hit a record high of S$152 000.

Alice Chang from Toyota Borneo Motors told the BBC that she had expected the surge in the cost of COEs due to strong demand for new cars.

“Whenever we have luxury cars, buyers are queuing up outside our store,” she said.

Despite being relatively small, Singapore regularly ranks as having one of the largest numbers of millionaires in the world.

However, for ordinary Singaporeans, with an average salary of about S$70,000, the COE scheme means it can be difficult to afford a car.

The government is keen to encourage residents to use the public transport system, which has been ranked as one of the best in the world.

Last year, more than S$60bn was committed to expand and renew the country’s rail network over the next decade.

The city-state, which has a population of around 5.5 million, had just under 1 million private cars on the road as of the end of last year.

The number of new COEs available depends on how many older cars are taken off the road. BBC.

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