SINGAPORE - Vehicle owners will soon face tougher inspection standards - a move which is likely to discourage them from keeping their vehicles beyond 10 years.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said in Parliament on Tuesday (March 6) that he would be reviewing "how to reduce vehicular pollution from older, more polluting vehicles".
"We will announce our recommendations in due course," he said, without elaborating.
But last year, Mr Masagos announced that a more stringent vehicle inspection regiment will kick in from April this year.
He said: "The in-use emission standard for diesel vehicles was already tightened in January 2014. We will now introduce new in-use emission standards for petrol vehicles and motorcycles, similar to those already in place in Europe and Japan.
"These standards are designed to be easily met by properly maintained vehicles. The new standards will take effect on April 1, 2018, and will help minimise excessive emissions due to vehicle defects or poor maintenance."
As the cost of vehicles rises on the back of lofty certificate of entitlement (COE) premiums, vehicle owners are increasingly choosing COE revalidation - extending the 10-year lifespan of a COE by paying a prevailing quota premium - rather than buying a new vehicle.
As a result, Singapore's vehicle population - especially that of cars - has aged significantly. According to Land Transport Authority (LTA) statistics, the number of cars nine years or older stood at 163,323 as at end-2017, making up 26.7 per cent of the car population.
In 2007, there were 30,529 such cars, which accounted for 5.9 per cent of the car population.
The Singapore Vehicle Traders Association has been lobbying for a surcharge to be levied on older vehicles, saying that they pose a huge environmental cost. It argues that a similar surcharge is being levied on imported used cars.
According to the LTA, 91 per cent of vehicles above 10 years of age passed inspection on the first attempt last year. It was the highest passing rate for this category of vehicles in at least 10 years. Previously, only around 85 per cent passed on the first inspection.