Latest COE Bidding Results – How Much Does Vehicle Ownership Cost in Singapore?

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 07 January, 2024

If you’re a vehicle owner (or aiming to be one), understanding the COE price and bidding exercise is crucial. Find out the latest COE price and bidding results here. 

As much as we have a world-class public transport system in Singapore, there will always be families that require their own means of transport. However, it’s no secret that owning a vehicle in Singapore is expensive; and the main culprit is, of course, the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) system.

While it has been relatively effective in keeping our roads free of congestion (relative to, say, Bangkok), the system is far from perfect. 

In October 2023, COE prices breached the S$150,000 mark, bringing car ownership costs to unprecedented levels. Thankfully, there was a sharp reversal in November, with the downtrend continuing in December.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened with the latest COE bidding results, as well as what historical price trends say about committing to a car purchase now. 

Table of contents



Latest COE Bidding Results – January 2024, first bidding

Category Current COE Previous COE Difference PQP
Cat A
Car ≤ 1600cc & 130bhp, or 110kW
S$65,010 S$85,000 - S$19,990 S$93,952 (Jan)
Cat B
Car > 1600cc & 130bhp, or 110kW
S$85,010 S$110,001 - S$24,991 S$130,241 (Jan)
Cat C
Goods vehicle & bus
S$67,599 S$69,423 - S$1,824 S$77,168 (Jan)
Cat D
Motorcycle
S$9,114 S$9,002 + S$112 S$10,302 (Jan)
Cat E
Open - all except motorcycle
S$106,388 S$118,388 - S$12,000

 

How much does COE cost in Singapore?

The latest round of bidding saw COE prices fall across the board in almost every category, providing car owners with a reason to smile.

Cat A COEs started 2024 with a large drop, going from S$85,000 to S$65,010, a difference of S$19,990. This places COE prices for smaller cars close to levels last seen in February 2022. In fact, this has led to an increase in visitors to car showrooms over the weekend.

The same can be said for Cat B and Open Category COE, which saw a drop of S$24,991 and S$12,000, respectively.

Cat B, reserved for larger cars, saw the biggest reduction of S$24,991, bringing premiums to S$85,010.

For the Open Category, premiums plunged by exactly S$12,000 to S$106,388. 

Commercial and goods vehicles, meanwhile, saw the smallest drop in premiums – a reduction of S$1,824, leaving the Cat C COE price at S$67,599.

 

Score up to S$300 cashbackS$280 petrol vouchers or up to 23% in discounts on your car insurance premiums when you purchase it via SingSaver.

Plus, get 1x chance to win Shell Petrol Vouchers (worth S$3,000) OR a Herman Miller Remastered Aeron Chair - Mineral Size A (worth S$2,470) OR a UBOX Slim Starter+ Package - 280W Slim Karaoke Speakers with 6.5" Subwoofer (worth S$3,696). T&Cs apply.

 

 

 

Latest COE prices for motorcycles (Cat D)

The COE price for motorcycles (Cat D) rose in January 2024. The premium increased slightly by S$112, bringing the latest Cat D COEs for motorcycles to S$9,114. 

The highest level for Cat D was seen a year ago on 9 Nov 2022, when premiums for motorcycle COEs reached S$13,189.

Back to top

What is the overall COE trend for cars in Singapore?

Source

The chart above shows the trend of COE prices for all categories except motorcycles. Zooming into 2022, we see that it had been a year of steadily increasing COE prices across Categories A, B, C and E (Open).  

Leading the charge were the Cat B and Open COEs, which steadily surged to new heights in October. The trend similarities between the two is due to how some car drivers prefer to bid on the Open Category for more powerful cars, believing that there would be less competition and thus a lower COE. 

As history shows, this was barely the case, and Cat B bids were consistently lower than those entered for the Open category, with the latest prices signalling a continuation of the trend. It’d be interesting to see whether Open Cat COEs will continue to diverge from Cat B COEs in future.

Cat A and Cat C COEs followed a similar, if less dramatic, trend. COE prices for smaller cars breached six-figures twice last year – once in April 2023 and another time in October 2023. It’s a relief to see premiums coming down to a saner level as we start the year.

Meanwhile, COEs for Cat C hit a high point in March 2023 of S$91,101, but have since mellowed to start the year just under S$70,000. 

 

What’s behind COE prices in January?

As you’re probably aware, the COE system runs on a bidding system. During a COE exercise, drivers enter the highest amount they are willing to pay. If their bids are too low, they can revise them upwards to stay in the running. 

Ultimately, available COEs for the session are distributed to the highest bidder, going down the line until running out. 

Because the number of COEs is lesser than the number of drivers wanting them, drivers are forced to continually bid up prices. This can be inferred from the perpetual traffic jams during rush hour despite COE prices rising by over 100% over the past five years. 

The record-high COE prices seen in September 2023 and October 2023 can be simply attributed to high demand from drivers during a period of low COE supply.

In response, the Land Transport Authority announced an increase of nearly 3,500 COEs across Categories A, B and C for the quarter starting November. 

We’re now seeing the effects of these measures, especially in Cat B and Open Category COEs. Premiums have come down by around S$40,000 from previous highs.  

As for Cat A, while the first bidding in December 2023 proved immune to higher COE supply, the initiative has since caught up with the market, bringing prices down once more. 

As no additional COEs were released for Cat D (motorcycles), premiums continued hovering around the S$10,000 mark, indicating continued strong demand among motorcyclists.

Back to top

SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Use promo code TIQSINGSAVER to get 20% off and get up to $300 cashback (fulfillment by Tiq). Valid till 31 July 2024. T&Cs apply. Plus, purchase eligible Etiqa or Tiq by Etiqa plans for a chance to win S$10,000 in cash or a Singapore Mint Lunar Dragon 1 gram 999.9 fine gold medallion (valued at S$173). Fulfillment by TIQ. Valid till 15 August 2024. 

Plus, get 1x chance to win Shell Petrol Vouchers (worth S$3,000) OR a Herman Miller Remastered Aeron Chair - Mineral Size A (worth S$2,470) OR a UBOX Slim Starter+ Package - 280W Slim Karaoke Speakers with 6.5" Subwoofer (worth S$3,696). T&Cs apply.

Is now the time to buy a car in Singapore?

While the drop in COE prices is sorely needed, most private vehicle owners still have to contend with high costs. 

Car drivers have it the worst, having to pay around S$65,010 to S$106,388 for a COE. And that’s on top of all the other fees and costs of registering a car in Singapore. 

Commercial and goods vehicle owners also have to grapple with additional costs in the region of S$67,599, and even motorcyclists have to have around S$9,114 to cover COE before getting on the road.

Undeniably, the drop in COE prices this time is significant, especially if you’re in the market for smaller cars.

However, you are still looking at easily a six-figure sum or close to buy a new car – a serious financial commitment when the median household income was barely over S$10,000 in 2022. 

Those who are adamant about going ahead buying a new car now should weigh carefully the financial cost against the utility or convenience of owning your own vehicle. 

Options such as renewing your COE or purchasing an Off-Peak Car may also be worth considering. 

And for those who can wait, wait. If history is any indication, COE prices follow a cyclical trend. The last time COEs hit the S$100,000 mark was 2013, and astonishingly, prices fell to as low as S$25,000 for Cat A by 2018. 

So if you’re not in a hurry, waiting it out for a few more COE bidding cycles to see where prices are heading may pay off in the form of smaller car loan payments.

Also read: 10 Best Car Insurance Plans in Singapore (November 2023)

 

Alternatively, consider renewing your COE 

Another way to lower your vehicle ownership costs is to renew your COE instead. 

Doing so is much cheaper compared to bidding for a new COE, as you only need to pay the Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP). The PQP is the moving average for the Quota Premium of the past three months. 

Here’s the gist of the COE renewal process. You have two choices:

Renew for 

Number of renewals allowed 

Cost

5 years

Cat A, B and D: Once only


Cat C: Five-year terms, until end of statutory lifespan

50% of Prevailing Quota Premium (PQP)

10 years

Cat A, B and D: No limit

100% of PQP

If your COE is expiring and you simply want to hold out for a while more to see if COE premiums come down, renewing for 5 years is probably the better choice. 

A 10-year COE renewal is likely more suitable for vintage enthusiasts that want to continue maintaining and driving a classic car or motorcycle model. 

For Cat C, commercial vehicles and buses, you are only allowed to renew your COE in five-year blocks. Multiple renewals are allowed, until the end of the vehicle’s statutory lifespan. 

 

Back to top

Road tax implications of renewing your COE

Note that while you can save a significant sum when renewing your COE, your road tax liabilities will increase. See the following table.

Age of vehicle 

Annual road tax surcharge

More than 10 years old

10%

More than 11 years old

20%

More than 12 years old

30%

More than 13 years old

40%

More than 14 years old

50%

 

Get a comprehensive car insurance coverage for your vehicle

Whether you're buying a new car or renewing your COE, getting a car insurance plan is essential. Find a comprehensive car insurance plan for your vehicle on SingSaver now.

 

 

Score up to S$300 cashbackS$280 petrol vouchers or up to 23% in discounts on your car insurance premiums when you purchase it via SingSaver.

Plus, get 1x chance to win Shell Petrol Vouchers (worth S$3,000) OR a Herman Miller Remastered Aeron Chair - Mineral Size A (worth S$2,470) OR a UBOX Slim Starter+ Package - 280W Slim Karaoke Speakers with 6.5" Subwoofer (worth S$3,696). T&Cs apply.

 

 

Read these next:

ERP Timing & Rates (2023) – Complete Guide To Electronic Road Pricing Operating Hours In Singapore
The Cost Of Owning A Car In Singapore (and How To Do It)
Best Second Hand Used Cars to Buy in Singapore 2023
Why High COE Prices Fail at Discouraging Singaporeans From Driving
The Ultimate Guide To Cheapest Parking In Orchard and Dhoby Ghaut (All-Day Free Parking Included)

 

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

FINANCIAL TIP:

Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

Sign up for our newsletter for financial tips, tricks and exclusive information that can be personalised to your preferences!