The Straits Times
Published on Feb 20, 2013

Have a fixed COE price


SINGAPOREANS have accepted certificates of entitlement (COEs) as a way of life but are unhappy with the skyrocketing prices.

Continued high COE prices negate efforts by the Government to introduce higher carbon emission standards as people keep their old cars longer than necessary.

The present bidding system should be replaced by a fixed COE price computed as follows:

Take the COE bids over the last 20 years or so and discard the top 10 per cent and bottom 10 per cent of bids. The average of the remaining 80 per cent shall be the fixed COE price for the respective categories, with perhaps some allowance for inflation each year.The exceptions to this fixed price are supercars and high-performance cars, and taxis and buses.

Having a fixed COE price removes the hassle and uncertainty of bidding, ensures the system is not skewed in favour of any economic group, provides for stability, and minimises the manpower needed to manage the system.

The Government needs to consider the question of who gets priority in attaining COEs only if demand exceeds supply. Some factors should be considered:

If current car owners replace their old cars. This does not add to the car population.

If the car owner is a first-timer. These people would be adding to the car population.

If the car owner has a need for a vehicle, say, if he has young children or elderly in his family.

Perhaps a point-scoring system, similar to that used in the primary school registration system, could be devised to take these various factors into account when deciding on priority.

These priority COEs could comprise 15 per cent to 20 per cent of the supply.

Tan Suan Yong