Impose extra fee for owning additional cars

I support the move to curb the growth in our car and motorcycle populations (Fewer COEs for cars, motorbikes from Feb; Oct 24).

Our public transport system is improving, especially with the fast-expanding MRT network.

We also cannot continue to build roads and parking facilities indefinitely.

I further suggest that the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system, which has served us well since its introduction in 1990, be fine-tuned.

The auction style of the system inherently favours the wealthy.

This has resulted in an elite being able to own multiple cars, which then become underused, while the majority of middle-and lower-income families with a genuine need for a car are priced out or compelled to pay COE prices beyond what they can afford.

This lop-sided situation is unhealthy and inequitable.

The middle class deserve a fair share for working hard and contributing to the nation's prosperity.

By virtue of the economic law of diminishing marginal utility, a person with two or more cars derives declining enjoyment from each additional car versus the higher utility derived by a single-car owner.

Society's well-being would be enhanced by a more efficient allocation of COEs.

Therefore, I propose that an extra fee be imposed to discourage individuals from owning more than one car.

This fee can be a certain percentage over the COE price, with the percentage increasing with each additional car owned.

This is similar to the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty imposed on individuals acquiring more than one property.

Ang Ah Lay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'Impose extra fee for owning additional cars'. Print Edition | Subscribe