Most underestimate costs of owning a car

Potential car buyers at the Singapore Motorshow 2016 at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Jan 14, 2016.
Potential car buyers at the Singapore Motorshow 2016 at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre on Jan 14, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

Most young people here underestimate the cost of owning a car in Singapore, and are willing to pay only a small part of their monthly income on car-related expenses.

About two thirds of respondents in The Sunday Times' survey on attitudes towards car ownership said they would not set aside more than 15 per cent of their monthly wages on a car.

About three in four of the 501 people aged 18 to 35 polled said they are willing to pay up to $500 a month for car-related expenses such as fuel and maintenance.

Just over six in 10 said they would pay up to $1,000 for monthly car instalments.

But the costs of owning a car, including monthly instalments, fuel, and parking, can easily amount to more than $2,000 a month, according to a post on car costs on the Government's Gov.sg website.

Experts say that while most would take into account expenses such as monthly instalments and petrol, few consider factors such as depreciation when buying a car.

This is more than half the median monthly income of about $4,000 here, based on 2015 Ministry of Manpower figures.

Chief methodologist Jack Loo of Nexus Link, which was commissioned to conduct the survey, said respondents might not have a good idea of the cost of maintaining a car as they are not car owners.

 

Only 12 per cent of respondents agreed that cars are affordable.

Experts say that while most would take into account expenses such as monthly instalments and petrol, few consider factors such as depreciation when buying a car.

"These are harder to grasp, because they don't appear as items on a billing statement," said SIM University economist Walter Theseira.

Healthcare professional Juliana Koh, 28, said she found the cost of owning a car here prohibitive.

"It's too expensive. Unless there's a train fault, public transport here is quite convenient for getting around," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 11, 2016, with the headline 'Most underestimate costs of owning a car'. Print Edition | Subscribe