It’s Formula1 season here. Another one-of-its-kind night race, the first in the world in 2008 won by Spaniard Fernando Alonso. People involved in the event have been busy for weeks, fans are arriving, last minute ticketing frenzy, entertainment all lined up, glitz and glam guaranteed.
According to TripAdvisor, the cost of the cheapest race ticket, one night’s stay in a hotel close to the circuit, a burger meal, a pint of beer (most expensive in F1 venues ), and a soda, could chalk up to a total of S$622.67 (US$500), making Singapore the seventh-costliest place in the world to watch the grand prix.
Besides beer, Singapore is the most expensive place in the world to own a car. Even the stars from Fast and Furious were shocked at the prices we pay for our four-wheels.
A small family car such as the Toyota Yaris costs about S$120,000 (US$96,000); China Chery subcompact car is over S$85,000 (US$68,000); BMW 3series sedan S$200,000 (US$160,000); Mercedes E63 S$500,000 (US$400,000); and we’ve not gone into the dizzying range of luxury cars.
Why so expensive?
It all started on labour day in 1990 when the transport authority implemented a quota limit to vehicles called the Certificate Of Entitlement (COE). The COE system was intended to curb vehicle ownership by imposing an additional variable cost to anyone buying new cars.
Today the average cost of a COE is S$70,000 (US$56,000). Top this to the price of your dream car and only then are you entitled to put it on the road.
Oh I forget to say that the COE expires after 10 years. I know it’s hard to accept but that’s one of the high costs of living here. My own run-around faithful 4-seater will be ten next year and I’ll have to scrap it even though it’s in immaculate condition. (sigh)
Now you understand why Singaporeans get excited when we see the prices of cars in showrooms overseas because back home, most of us can only ogle.