Environmental News Archive

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Shifting into green gear

By Lee U-Wen, TODAY | Posted: 21 August 2006 1020 hrs

SINGAPORE: It's perhaps the clearest sign yet that the sluggish green car market here is on the upswing.

As of June this year, 129 petrol electric hybrid vehicles have been registered in Singapore, compared to fewer than 10 in June last year.

The significant increase can be attributed to various reasons, such as the increasing awareness of the importance of being environmentally friendly, said Dr Amy Khor.

The Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources noted that while the number of such energy-efficient cars was a "modest" one, she remained hopeful that more car buyers, especially first-time owners, would choose hybrids over conventional models in the coming years.

One other key factor, she said, was the increased green vehicle rebates for the consumer.

The tax rebate for green cars, which was doubled in January, is now equivalent to 40 per cent of a car's open market value.

The rebate was supposed to have expired at the end of last year, but has since been extended until December next year.

Speaking to reporters after launching the annual Green Transport Week on Sunday morning, Dr Khor, who is also mayor of the South West district, test drove two popular hybrid cars - the Toyota Prius and the new Honda Civic Hybrid.

"It's not that different, in fact I found the cars very quiet. Eventually I'll get one for myself; it just makes sense given the impact on our environment," said Dr Khor, who currently drives a Toyota Camry.

Describing her first three months in her new job as "fast-paced", she said she was currently busy overseeing the first large-scale study on the vulnerability of the impact of climate change on Singapore.

As chairman of the National Climate Change Committee, Dr Khor said the study, which involves both local and foreign experts, would begin later this year and is expected to be completed by 2008.

"Previous studies have always been on a global level, but we've never had one for Singapore. It's very timely given that climate change is a major concern for many countries, and especially so now that Singapore has just signed the Kyoto Protocol," she said.

Meanwhile, the latest Green Transport Guide was also launched. It contains tips on how to cut down on vehicle emissions, advice on buying a car and a list of fuel-efficient driving habits.

Visit www.sec.org.sg/gtw to download a copy. - TODAY

Source: CNA