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

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

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

Announced during a debate in Parliament on environmental sustainability in March 2021, the initiative aims to reduce overall vehicular pollution.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a statement on July 10 that since the announcement, the registration rate of new diesel vehicles and taxis has remained below 1 percent thanks to the availability of cleaner alternatives.

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

This is in line with the current policy of imposing a road tax surcharge of between 10 and 50 per cent on vehicles over 10 years old, depending on their age.

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

As of May 2024, there were 19,972 diesel cars and taxis on Singapore roads, a small fraction of the 164,759 diesel vehicles, which mainly consist of goods vehicles and buses. Diesel-powered vehicles account for approximately 17% of all vehicles in Singapore, while pure diesel passenger cars accounted for 2.7% of the total passenger car population of 650,001.

Taxis, which previously ran mainly on diesel fuel, have largely switched to petrol-electric hybrid or fully electric models. As of May, only 16.8 percent of taxis were running on diesel fuel.

To further encourage the switch from diesel, the Government has introduced schemes such as the Early Transition 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 commercial vehicles who opt for cleaner, primarily electric models.

As of May, 88.6 percent of the 143,565 freight vehicles in Singapore were diesel-powered. This rate was 95.8 percent at the end of 2020. In buses, 97.4 percent of the 18,007 registered vehicles were diesel-powered.

LTA has pledged to buy only cleaner-energy public transport buses and aims to replace half of its fleet of around 6,000 with electric buses by 2030. Some private bus operators have already switched to fully electric models.

In 2021, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, who was then Transport Minister, highlighted that motor vehicles in Singapore emitted about 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Switching all light vehicles, including cars and taxis, to electric could potentially reduce 1.5 to 2 million tonnes per year, equivalent to about 4 per cent of Singapore’s total national emissions.

He also noted that when switching from internal combustion engine vehicles to battery-powered vehicles, net carbon savings of up to 50 percent can be achieved, even if electricity is produced from fossil fuels such as natural gas.

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