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Blue Belt
Blue Belt

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Registration date : 2009-01-03

PostSubject: Know how fuel-efficient your rides are   Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:57 pm

Know how fuel-efficient your rides are

Wed, Mar 04, 2009
The Straits Times

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

MOTORISTS who buy new cars from next month will be able to know exactly how fuel-efficient their rides are.

Singapore will have, by the year's end, South-east Asia's first laboratory to measure fuel consumption and emission levels.

It is being set up on the back of the impending Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme, which will require all new cars to bear a label stating the number of litres a vehicle needs to run 100km. The centre is expected to be used by parallel importers, who will have problems meeting the requirements of the scheme since they do not get their cars directly from manufacturers.

Cars from official dealers come direct from the factory, so such dealers have access to the required fuel-efficiency data.

Until the Singapore lab comes up, parallel importers will need to have vehicles assessed at independent test centres. In the region, only Hong Kong has test facilities meeting Singapore's requirements.

The centre here will be sited at one of Vicom's vehicle-inspection centres and be run by Vicom, a subsidiary of transport giant ComfortDelGro.

Costing $5.8 million and half-funded by the Government, the centre will be able to test five vehicles a day - be they petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas, bi-fuel or hybrid electric vehicles, said a Land Transport Authority spokesman.

European test standards will be used.

The Straits Times understands that the lab will also be able to verify the data claimed by car firms.

The Ministry for the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), which is spearheading the labelling scheme, believes that transparency about fuel consumption will help consumers make wiser choices when buying a vehicle.

A motorist who does so stands to save about $900 a year on fuel bills, said MEWR minister Yaacob Ibrahim last month.

Fuel efficiency is also good for the environment, since economical vehicles also tend to emit fewer tailpipe gases.

Mr Seah Seng Choon, executive director of the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), said that with the fuel-efficiency figure spelled out, the demand for economical cars could well go up.

'This would in turn encourage car dealers to bring in more fuel-efficient models, which will benefit consumers in the long run.'

Meanwhile, parallel importers have appealed for unsold vehicles still in port to be exempted from the Fuel Economy Labelling Scheme for six months.

The economic slowdown has saddled them with an inventory of 'at least' 2,300 cars, said Mr Neo Nam Heng, who heads the Automotive Importers and Exporters Association.

This body of parallel importers is concerned that complying with the scheme will add to their costs.

Noting it will cost between $3,000 and $4,000 to test each car, Mr Neo said the association's members have agreed to pool resources to pay for the tests. It is not known how much of or whether their costs will be passed to the consumer.

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