10 July 2024
New Diesel Cars and Taxis to Be Phased Out in Singapore by 2025

Starting January 1, 2025, new diesel cars and taxis will no longer be registered in Singapore.

This initiative, announced back in March 2021 during a Parliamentary debate on environmental sustainability, is a bid to reduce overall vehicular pollution.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) noted on July 10 that since the announcement, the proportion of new diesel car and taxi registrations has remained below 1 percent, thanks to the availability of cleaner alternatives.

By 2030, all new cars and taxis registered in Singapore will need to be cleaner-energy models. However, owners of diesel cars registered before January 1, 2025, can still renew their certificate of entitlement (COE) post-deadline, albeit with higher road taxes to discourage renewal.

This aligns with the existing policy of imposing a road tax surcharge of 10 to 50 percent on vehicles over 10 years old, depending on their age.

Interestingly, the restrictions on new diesel car registrations will not apply to cars imported under the Classic Vehicle and Vintage Vehicle schemes. Classic vehicles must be at least 35 years old from their original registration date, while vintage vehicles include heritage-rich models manufactured before January 1940.

As of May 2024, there were 19,972 diesel cars and taxis on Singapore’s roads, a small fraction of the 164,759 diesel vehicles, which primarily consist of goods vehicles and buses. Diesel-powered vehicles account for about 17 percent of all vehicles in Singapore, with pure diesel passenger cars making up 2.7 percent of the 650,001 total passenger car population. 

Taxis, once predominantly diesel-powered, have largely transitioned to petrol-electric hybrids or fully electric models, with only 16.8 percent still running on diesel as of May.

To further encourage the shift from diesel, the Government has introduced schemes like the Early Turnover Scheme (ETS) and the Commercial Vehicle Emissions Scheme (CVES). 

Under the ETS, owners of older commercial vehicles can switch to newer, cleaner models at a discounted COE rate. Meanwhile, the CVES offers cash incentives to owners of light goods vehicles who opt for cleaner, primarily electric, models.

As of May, 88.6 percent of the 143,565 goods vehicles in Singapore were diesel-powered, a significant reduction from 95.8 percent at the end of 2020. For buses, 97.4 percent of the 18,007 registered were diesel-powered.

LTA has committed to purchasing only cleaner energy public buses and aims to replace half of its nearly 6,000-strong fleet with electric buses by 2030. Some private bus operators have already made the switch to fully electric models.

Back in 2021, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, then the transport minister, highlighted that motor vehicles in Singapore emit about 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

Transitioning all light vehicles, including cars and taxis, to electricity could potentially reduce this by 1.5 to 2 million tonnes per year, equating to about 4 percent of Singapore’s total national emissions.

He also noted that switching from internal combustion engine vehicles to battery-powered ones could result in net carbon savings of 50 percent, even if the electricity is generated from fossil fuels like natural gas. 

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