Why is car population declining?

Could the Land Transport Authority shed light on why the overall car population has been declining over the past two years even though the Ministry of Transport has articulated a 0.25 per cent growth policy from February this year to January 2018?

Since the car population peaked at 621,345 cars at the end of December 2013, the total number of cars declined by 0.8 per cent to 616,609 at the end of December last year. Further, in the first nine months of this year alone, the overall car population has declined by a further 2 per cent to 604,825 cars by the end of last month.

Assuming the reduction reflects cars being scrapped, that is a difference of almost 12,000 additional certificates of entitlement (COEs) in the first nine months of this year (or about 4,000 COEs per quarter) that should have been recycled back into the system by now, just to maintain a 0.25 per cent annual growth rate in Singapore's car population.

Why is there this apparent shortfall of COEs?

John Francis Khng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Why is car population declining?'. Print Edition | Subscribe