The Straits Times
Published on Jan 18, 2013

Allow car engine upgrade under green scheme


HIGH home and car prices consume a large portion of a household's income, leaving less for raising children comfortably. These are factors that discourage some ordinary Singaporean couples from having more babies ("COE price for small cars hits new high of $92,100", Jan 10; and "Private home prices set to rise further", Jan 11).

If certificate of entitlement (COE) prices continue to rise, only the rich would be able to afford to buy new cars. Ordinary households with babies, elderly parents and family members with chronic medical conditions will have less opportunity to secure new cars.

More ordinary Singaporeans will have to resort to buying used cars ("Sharp rise in older cars amid high COE prices"; Jan 7).

More old cars on the road jeopardise Singapore's effort to control and reduce air pollution from high carbon emission. There may be more frequent breakdowns and possibly more accidents that may contribute to traffic congestion.

The Government should allow car owners to replace their old engines with new engines of similar make and capacity, as part of the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle (CEV) Scheme.

This will allow ordinary families who cannot afford a new car to continue driving with an "upgraded" one.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) can control the "CEV engine upgrade" programme by imposing a registration fee for each engine upgrade application. Those who fail to apply and seek LTA approval for the engine upgrade will be deemed to have made an illegal vehicle modification and be subject to punishment by law.

A reasonable balance is then struck between rich new car owners and ordinary "upgraded" car owners.

Ang Chin Guan