811 of 5,270 cars registered in first month of new scheme qualify for $10,000 rebate
Only 15% of new cars get green tax break File photo showing cars along One Marina Boulevard on March 22, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

Only 15 per cent of new cars qualify for tax rebates under the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES), which kicked in in July.

This compares with around 60 per cent when the preceding scheme was introduced four years ago.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that among the 5,270 cars registered in the first month of the VES, 811, or 15 per cent, fell within the A2 banding, which qualifies them for a $10,000 rebate.
Only five cars - or 0.1 per cent - fell within the top-tier A1 banding, which qualifies them for a $20,000 tax break. These are likely to be full electric models, as they are the only ones with a particulate matter emission reading of zero - a requirement for A1 banding.
The LTA said half the cars fell within the neutral band, which means they do not qualify for rebates or a surcharge. The remaining 35 per cent of cars attracted a tax surcharge. Some 27 per cent, or 1,432 cars, drew a $10,000 surcharge, while 8 per cent, or 408 cars, had a $20,000 surcharge.
Asian Clean Fuels Association director Clarence Woo said the outcome was expected because of the inclusion of four other pollutant readings besides carbon dioxide (which was the sole measure in the preceding scheme).
"The auto industry will likely meet the new standards with more vehicles, but that would take some time," Mr Woo said.
"However, the authorities need to monitor this closely because buyers may also look at second-hand cars if the economics work better."
While the VES is part of Singapore's move towards a cleaner environment, motor traders said there is still confusion about how it is applied.
Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said: "Our standards are largely based on European standards. But in Europe, port fuel injection engines are exempt from particulate matter readings."
He was referring to various Japanese models which have fuel injected just before the engine's combustion chamber. The European Commission grants an exemption to these models, citing the particulate matter emissions as being "very low".
Port fuel injection technology is deemed to be less fuel-efficient and can produce more carbon dioxide than direct injection, where the fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber.
Others question why motor firms are allowed to retest their cars to arrive at a more favourable reading for a particular pollutant.
They cite the case of the popular Toyota Corolla Altis, which went from a $10,000 surcharge banding to a neutral banding after retests, where its particulate matter reading improved by 86 per cent.
In response, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said: "In general, the emission values of all pollutants... of a vehicle should be recorded in a single test report."
But for port fuel injection (PFI) vehicles like the Toyota Corolla Altis, its manufacturer's import documents do not contain particulate matter (PM) values "as it is not a requirement for PFI vehicles to test for PM under European and Japanese regulations".
"Therefore, for PFI vehicles, the NEA accepts the PM emission result from a separate test from an independent accredited test laboratory, such as Vicom," the NEA said, adding that "the PM emissions result for a particular model can vary for different rounds of tests".

This compares with around 60 per cent when the preceding scheme was introduced four years ago.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that among the 5,270 cars registered in the first month of the VES, 811, or 15 per cent, fell within the A2 banding, which qualifies them for a $10,000 rebate.

Only five cars - or 0.1 per cent - fell within the top-tier A1 banding, which qualifies them for a $20,000 tax break. These are likely to be full electric models, as they are the only ones with a particulate matter emission reading of zero - a requirement for A1 banding.

The LTA said half the cars fell within the neutral band, which means they do not qualify for rebates or a surcharge. The remaining 35 per cent of cars attracted a tax surcharge. Some 27 per cent, or 1,432 cars, drew a $10,000 surcharge, while 8 per cent, or 408 cars, had a $20,000 surcharge.

Asian Clean Fuels Association director Clarence Woo said the outcome was expected because of the inclusion of four other pollutant readings besides carbon dioxide (which was the sole measure in the preceding scheme).

"The auto industry will likely meet the new standards with more vehicles, but that would take some time," Mr Woo said.

"However, the authorities need to monitor this closely because buyers may also look at second-hand cars if the economics work better."

While the VES is part of Singapore's move towards a cleaner environment, motor traders said there is still confusion about how it is applied.

Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said: "Our standards are largely based on European standards. But in Europe, port fuel injection engines are exempt from particulate matter readings."

He was referring to various Japanese models which have fuel injected just before the engine's combustion chamber. The European Commission grants an exemption to these models, citing the particulate matter emissions as being "very low".

Port fuel injection technology is deemed to be less fuel-efficient and can produce more carbon dioxide than direct injection, where the fuel is sprayed directly into the combustion chamber.

Others question why motor firms are allowed to retest their cars to arrive at a more favourable reading for a particular pollutant.

They cite the case of the popular Toyota Corolla Altis, which went from a $10,000 surcharge banding to a neutral banding after retests, where its particulate matter reading improved by 86 per cent.

In response, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said: "In general, the emission values of all pollutants... of a vehicle should be recorded in a single test report."

But for port fuel injection (PFI) vehicles like the Toyota Corolla Altis, its manufacturer's import documents do not contain particulate matter (PM) values "as it is not a requirement for PFI vehicles to test for PM under European and Japanese regulations".

"Therefore, for PFI vehicles, the NEA accepts the PM emission result from a separate test from an independent accredited test laboratory, such as Vicom," the NEA said, adding that "the PM emissions result for a particular model can vary for different rounds of tests".