More using diesel vehicle trade-in scheme

Feng Zengkun The Straits Times AsiaOne 25 Oct 14;

More people are trading in their old commercial diesel vehicles for newer and greener ones under a government scheme which rewards them for doing so.

Nearly 4,200 vehicles have been traded under the Government's Early Turnover Scheme as of last month, with about three quarters of the replacements made under the new incentive scheme, according to the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

More vehicles have also been switched in recent months, with about 700 in July and nearly 820 in August, many more than in previous months. The figure, how- ever, fell to 535 for last month.

The scheme was introduced in April last year to reduce local sources of pollution, and its incentives were sweetened from March, resulting in more people making the switch.

Under the scheme, owners can deregister old commercial diesel vehicles bought before January 2001 and register a replacement commercial vehicle for a discounted fee. They will not need to bid for a certificate of entitlement (COE) for the new vehicle.

Owners can also transfer the unused period of COE from their existing vehicle to the replacement one. They will get a bonus COE period for their replacement vehicle, derived from a proportion of what's left of their existing vehicle's 20-year lifespan when it is deregistered.

For Mr Bakar Moosa, a manager in his 70s, the scheme saved him some $30,000 as he needed to get a new commercial vehicle for his lubricants and motor oil distribution firm.

Mr Moosa, who is in his 70s, and others like Mr Goh Swee Hwa, 62, said the scheme's cost savings were especially useful for small and medium-sized business owners, but added that it could be improved further.

Mr Goh, who owns G T Art- Glass, which delivers and installs aluminium frames and tempered glass, said firms have to deregister their old vehicles before they can register the new ones.

"But the new registration takes time, and we cannot use the old vehicles once we deregister them, so there's a lag time when we have to rent vehicles, and this hurts our business," he said.

Mr Desmond Wong, director of Borneo Motors' Toyota commercial vehicles division, suggested that business owners be given a grace period of a month to use the old vehicle even after their deregistration.

Mr Moosa said the scheme should be expanded to some vehicles bought after January 2001, since only vehicles at least 14 years old are eligible now, whereas commercial vehicles tend to wear down by their 10th year due to heavy usage.