High costs of owning car a drawback

Car ownership is an aspiration of many, but it is not cheap ("Amount of time saved is a driving factor" by Mr Yeo Chee Kean; Sept 18).

Let's assume that a 32-year-old man, living in an HDB flat, bought a $100,000 family car with 70 per cent financing.

Each year, he would have to finance interest on the loan, and pay for road tax, Electronic Road Pricing and carpark fees, insurance premiums, petrol costs, and fees for repairs and maintenance.

In addition, he may need to buy a car seat, incur the cost of time lost during major servicing, repairs or vehicle inspections, and pay for insurance deductibles and car grooming, among other things.

Over a 10-year period, about $260,000 or more would be spent on the car (including repayment on the principal sum).

If he owns three cars from now until the age of 65, he would have spent approximately $780,000.

Part of the sum could have been used to buy various annuity plans to prepare for retirement.

The cost of car ownership will only escalate in future, especially if the car owner subsequently gets a larger car or one with a bigger purchase value.

While electric cars may be the cheaper alternative, if everyone buys one, the roads will be congested, the time saved will be lost and the cost of power will increase.

There may be long queues to charge the electric cars too.

In future, it is likely that more public areas will be car-free, thus compelling car owners to park and walk to their destinations.

Public housing estates and condominium projects may also reduce the amount of space allocated for carparks.

At the same time, the service quality of public transport is improving substantially, and will improve further, with the extension of the train network and additional bus service operators.

With only minor adjustments, some inconvenience and some advance planning, outings can certainly be conducted without a car.

Sum Kam Weng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 02, 2016, with the headline 'High costs of owning car a drawback'. Print Edition | Subscribe