Singapore’s ecological balance is dependent on its relative paucity of cars.
Singapore is the most expensive city on earth, according the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, which blames heavy taxes on car ownership for the Lion City’s unwanted status.
The survey, which compares the prices of 160 goods and services in 133 cities, found that Singapore was 20 per cent more expensive than New York City and 5 per cent more costly than Hong Kong, which came
second on the list, closely followed by Zurich.
Paris has featured among the 10 most expensive cities for the last 15 years.
For categories like personal care, household goods and domestic help, Singapore’s costs remain significantly lower than its peers. But it remains the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, as well as the second most costly city for clothing. In terms of food and drink the cost of living in Singapore is on a par with that of Shanghai in China.
Expatistan.com said the cost of owning a new Volkswagen Golf in Singapore was more than US$90,000, compared to around US$20,000 in the USA.
Singaporean fees and taxes on car ownership limit traffic and pollution in the densely packed city.
Mimi Ho in CityLab wrote: “This system means that only about 15 per cent of Singaporeans own a car. It keeps the roads fairly clear for such a small island, Singapore is slightly larger than three and a half Washington DCs, and helps keep it one of the greenest, if not the greenest, urban areas in Asia.”
Cars were taxed at least 100 per cent of their open market value, she said, and there was also a certificate of entitlement, the cost of which increased with demand.
“While in 2008 a Toyota Corolla purchased in Singapore would run you about US$48,000, today the price for the same car is closer to US$96,000,” Ho said.
There is reportedly still demand for the five Cs: car, condo, cash, credit card and country club, sparking resentment and sporadic protests against the taxes.
The city-state’s excellent public transport network, however, helps to alleviate many of these tensions.
Expatistan lists other expenses, including monthly rent for 900 square foot home, as US$1,900.
A pub meal for two was priced at US$40 and a 40-inch flat-screen television US$489.
Meanwhile, a tube of toothpaste was a pricey US$2.60.
Picture credit: MaxPixel