Which Is Cheaper? Taking Grab Or Owning A Car?
 
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Which Is Cheaper? Taking Grab Or Owning A Car?

Jacqueline Yan
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Now, it’s a given fact that cars are way more expensive in Singapore, and it’s going to take a lot for you to finance it.

But have you ever felt guilty about taking Grab or GoJek too often, thinking that you can afford a car if you were to save all of your rides instead?

Yea, I feel the pinch too, especially when there’s a surge.

TL;DR – Which is more expensive? Owning a car or using Grab every day?

taking ride hailing services such as grab every day or owning a car, which is cheaper?

No surprise there, huh?

Assuming that your car will last 10 years, the cost of owning a car amounts to about $200,156 over 10 years.

ComponentsCost over 10 years
Cost of Car$62,800
Road Tax$5,840
Insurance$22,500
Petrol$21,216
Parking$49,200
ERP$21,600
Servicing$17,000
TOTAL COST$200,125

Even if you use a ride-hailing app, such as Grab or GoJek, every single day, or even if you stay pretty far away and your average ride costs more, owning a car is still more expensive!

Assuming that you stay in the east (Bedok) and work in CBD, your choice to take Grab every day costs about $100,800 over 10 years. 

Number of Rides
Per Week
Cost Per RideCost Per MonthCost Per Year
10 rides (Weekday)$18$720$8,640
2 rides (Weekend)$15$120$1,440
TOTAL COST (over 10 years)$100,800

Guys, best scenario, take public transport!


Assumptions, assumptions

Here are some assumptions we’ve made, we know the last three points are impossible, but let’s make it easier for calculation.

  • 25-year-old male, single
  • Stays in Bedok South
  • Work at Robinson Road
  • Car lasts you for 10 years
  • Accident-free for 10 years
  • No price adjustment for 10 years
  • No inflation for 10 years

Financing your Car for 10 Years

Cost of Car

Once again, the cheapest car currently is the Perodua Bezza 1.3 Premium X (Automatic), but the price has gone up slightly to $62,800. (accurate as of 26 August).

And of course, you’ll know that’s not the end of the story since there’s so much more that you’ll need to pay for!

Road Tax

man in blue robe holding "pay yo taxes" sign with onlooking passerbys
Source: tenor

You’ll need a valid road tax before you can start driving anywhere, and the formula used to calculate is dependent on your car’s engine capacity.

For the Perodua Bezza, the road tax payable is $584 per, amounting to $5,840 for 10 years.

Insurance

cartoon man climbing out of car on fire
Source: giphy

In order to renew your road tax, you’ll need to have insurance for your vehicle. Assuming that you are a 25-year-old single male, your car insurance premium will cost you about $2,250.

Car insurance premiums will typically lower as you get older and get married, especially if you manage to go accident-free.

But for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume that your car insurance remains the same for 10 years, costing you $22,500 in total.

Petrol

process of pumping petrol
Source: giphy

While your Perodua Bezza is expected to clock 21km per litre of petrol, the average fuel consumption is about 15km per litre.

Since you’re most travelling from the East to town, that’s an average of 40km/day, clocking you 1,200km/mth.

Currently, the cheapest petrol price is about $2.21 per litre, which brings you to $176.80 per month. Assuming that the cost of petrol doesn’t increase, that’ll be $21,216 for the next 10 years of driving.

Parking

mr bean parking in tight space between two cars
Source: giphy

Of course, it’ll make more sense to get season parking right?

It’ll cost you $110/mth for residential season parking from HDB and given the scenario that you work in CBD, about $200/mth for season parking from URA.

Well, we all have to go out once in a while with our family and friends, so there’s bound to be additional parking costs on top of your season parking.

Parking costs vary largely depending on the area you go to, but let’s take an average of $100/mth for shopping centres and coupon-type parking.

Assuming that even if you change a job, your season parking is still the same, parking will cost you $410/mth, amounting to $49,200 over 10 years. 

ERP

Sigh, why are there so many ERP gantries in town?!

Accounting for daily commute to CBD for work and trips to town on weekends, you can potentially pay up to $180/mth.

That’s $21,600 over 10 years, just for ERP.

Can someone tell me why are we still so obsessed with buying cars? Huh, why?!

Servicing

gloved hand holding tools in front of car
Source: freepik

Like all material possessions, you’ll have to send your car for regular servicing if you want it to last for 10 years.

Regular servicing is recommended for every 10,000km clocked or every 6 months, which costs an average of $250/service.

Even if you take care of your car very well, there’s bound to be wear and tear, making replacement of parts necessary. So let’s say your car goes through major servicing every 2 years, with an average cost of $400/mth.

Taking care of your car, in the long run, will cost you $17,000 over 10 years, surprisingly lower than the above costs.

Of course, I’m assuming that you did not get into any single accident at all for 10 years. Well done, you!

Total Cost over 10 years

Losing track of the number of zeros already? Let’s sum up how much your car will cost you over 10 years.

ComponentsCost over 10 years
Cost of Car$62,800
Road Tax$5,840
Insurance$22,500
Petrol$21,216
Parking$49,200
ERP$21,600
Servicing$17,000
TOTAL COST$200,125

Using Ride-Hailing Services for 10 Years

“I’m so tired, I’m just going to Grab home”

And then, it becomes a habit.

Let’s say you use a ride-hailing service for your commute to and from work every day, a trip from Bedok to Robinson Road will cost you about $18 each, after factoring in surge pricing since you’ll be travelling during peak hours. That’s $180 per 5-day work week.

Similarly, you’ll also be going out on weekends, which averages out to $15 per trip, adding on $30 per weekend.

If you have that much disposable income to spend on your transport, using ride-hailing services every day for 10 years will cost you a total of $100,800.


It’s understandable to have to use ride-hailing services once in a while. Also, for certain families, owning a car makes more sense as well, even though it may add on to their household expenses.

But as much as possible, save money and take public transport!

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About Jacqueline Yan
Full-time coffee nerd playing the personal finance game to feed her insatiable wanderlust.
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