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Why Singaporean Car Buyers Might Be Punching Themselves for Ignoring the New Hybrid Car Rebates

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Peter Lin

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There’s probably going to be a special place in hell for the person who thought of a thousand and one methods to control car usage in Singapore. COE, road tax, season parking, the list goes on. However, there is one particular decision that we might give them chance for.

The Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme. The Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme or CEVS, was first introduced in 2013 and gave rebates to new car buyers who bought vehicles that had lower CO2 emissions, and were thus more environmentally friendly.

Earlier this year, at the Budget Statement, it was announced that the rebates would be increased to further encourage car buyers to switch.

 

What Are the New Rebates?

For cars registered from 1 July 2015 to 30 July 2017, the new rebates are as follows:

Band Carbon Emission (CO2 g/km) Rebate
A1 0 to 95 $30,000
A2 96 to 105 $15,000
A3 106 to 120 $10,000
A4 121 to 135 $5,000
B 136 to 185 $0

 

What do these rebates mean for a hybrid car – Toyota Prius C?

According to the LTA’s non-exhaustive list, a Toyota Prius C is a Cat A vehicle that falls under Band A1 since it has a Carbon Emission of 90 g/km. This means it is eligible for the maximum $30,000 rebate. However, based on the Toyota website, it is only eligible for $21,000. This is because the CEVS rebates are actually offset against the vehicle’s Additional Registration Fee or ARF.

A new Toyota Prius C, therefore, would cost around $120,000. At about 1497cc, that’s actually not a bad deal.

 

How does this compare to the cost of a petrol car – Toyota Vios?

Comparing this to a Toyota Vios 1.5, which also has 1,497cc engine capacity, but a Carbon Emission of 147 g/km. This puts it squarely under band B, which provides neither rebate nor surcharge. You can expect to also pay around $115,000 for a new Vios.

 

So that means it doesn’t matter whether you get a petrol car or a hybrid car now, right?

If you’re only considering how much it’ll cost you out of pocket and including your car loan, then sure, keep on thinking it doesn’t matter. However, while there are at least 3 compelling reasons why electric cars are perfect for Singaporeans, you really only need one – running costs. While a hybrid car can’t save you as much as an electric car can, the Prius C claims to give you 25.6 km per litre, while the Vios only gives you 15.8 km per litre. In other words, driving 100 km, will use only 3.9 litres on the Prius C but 6.3 litres on the Vios. That’s about 38% of fuel savings using a hybrid car!

In other words, even though you might be paying slightly more for a hybrid car compared to an equivalent petrol car, you’re definitely going to be saving more in the long run with a hybrid car.

 

So shouldn’t we all be buying hybrid cars now?

If you can afford one, yes, definitely. However, there are still a couple of reasons why hybrid cars and electric cars are still not the solution just yet. For one, there just aren’t many models available that can take full advantage of the increased rebates.

Based on the list provided by LTA, which they claim is not exhaustive, they only mention three models which are currently eligible for the revised $30,000 rebate. They are the earlier mentioned Toyota Prius C, the Toyota Prius and the Lexus CT200h.

Other hybrid models like the Mercedes-Benz E300 Hybrid and the Honda Insight Hybrid are only eligible for a $10,000 CEVS rebate, which might not be enough to encourage new car buyers to fork out more.

If the government were really serious about encouraging Singaporeans to buy low carbon emission vehicles, then they need to look into increase the rebates further. The alternative would be to start penalising car buyers who are currently purchasing petrol cars in band B – but that’s going to make people wish hell on you.

 

Are you planning to buy a new hybrid car with based on the new rebates? Share your thoughts with us.

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.