Go car-lite? Address social aspiration of owning a car

There is one more group of car owners over and above the three groups of car owners Mr Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan has identified ("Go car-lite? Have proper infrastructure in place first"; last Thursday).

This group of car owners I categorise as aspirants - those who own a car not out of necessity but due to their pursuit of social status. They are unaccounted for among those who love cars, need cars for their work and the in-between group. The harder society makes it for people to own a car, the stronger will be the urge for the group of aspirants to strive to own one.

The high premiums to be paid for certificates of entitlement reflect not only the social need for private transport, but also the social aspiration to own a car.

It is fair to raise the cost of car ownership in accordance with the rising cost of accommodating private transport. But it is almost impossible to get those who aspire to own a car in the pursuit of social status to deny themselves.

Liew Eng Leng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 19, 2016, with the headline 'Go car-lite? Address social aspiration of owning a car'. Print Edition | Subscribe