Singapore is joining the push for cleaner transport, pledging to ban all new diesel car and taxi sales from 2025, only four years away.
The plan was announced by Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung during a debate about the government’s sustainability plans on Thursday.
Diesel vehicles only make up about 2.9 per cent of privately owned models in Singapore, but account for most commercial vehicles and buses. While taxis used to be mostly diesel, almost 60% are now hybrid-electric.
All up, vehicles emit around 6.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year in Singapore, the minister said.
The plan does not include petrol cars and taxis, and the minister estimates that the ban will help to abate Singapore’s national carbon emissions by 4 per cent.
If all light vehicles, including cars and taxis, were electric, the estimated savings would be 1.5 – 2 million tonnes.
“This abatement is about 4 per cent of our total national emissions – not insignificant,” Ong was quoted as saying by Straits Times, noting that “even if the electricity is generated by fossil fuels,” the switch to electric vehicles would still abate carbon emissions by half.
While petrol vehicles are not included in the ban, Singapore is also introducing a “Commercial Vehicle Emissions Scheme and Enhanced Early Turnover Scheme” from April 1, 2021 to encourage commercial vehicle operators to switch to more efficient vehicles.
Under the scheme, operators of commercial vehicles will be subjected to a bonus-malus scheme which will see high polluting vehicles (above 280gm CO2/km) pay a $SK10,000 ($A9,694) surcharge.
Vehicles that emit between 150 and 280 gm CO2/km, no CO, HC or NOx and between 0 and 0.9 mg/km particulate matter will be reimbursed $SK10,000 ($A9,694).
Operators of vehicles that emit below 150gm CO2/km will receive $SK30,000 ($A29,083) surcharge in equal disbursement over three years. These vehicles must also produce no carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), NOx or particulate matter.
In addition, vehicle owners are also encouraged to scrap their diesel vehicles sooner in the Enhanced Early Turnover Scheme (ETS) that has been expanded since it was first introduced in 2013.
Singapore’s ban on diesel vehicles follows a global trend that has a growing number of countries pledging to ban fossil-fuel car sales in five to 10 years.
Norway is undoubtedly the leader here, with a plan to ban all petrol and diesel car sales by 2025. With three decades of policies to encourage electric vehicle adoption under its belt, already 7 in 10 car sales there are electric.
In the UK, a fossil-fuelled vehicle ban was first set for 2040, has been brought forward several times and now sits at 2030. An inquiry is currently looking into how it will achieve this.
Other jurisdictions planning to ban petrol and diesel cars include California (2035), Canada (2035), and Japan (2035) among others. The EU has strict vehicle emissions legislation, and has drafted legislation to target 30 million EVs on roads by 2030, and many European countries have also set dates for bans within the decade.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.