Is renting a car cheaper than taking Grab?

Are your Grab ride fees adding up too quickly for your liking? Consider renting a car from your neighbours for a safer and more affordable option instead, either by the hourly or from $35 per day. Fully insured and approved by LTA, this could be your solution for your next errand or family day out.

Public transport and Grab has made it super easy and convenient for us to get around Singapore, even if we don’t own a car. If you’ve been avoiding public transport like me (due to to virus), here’s a third option you can also consider – car sharing or renting.

I used to commute on public transport often, but ever since the pandemic started, my public transport expenses have fallen to almost zero because we’ve been trying to avoid the crowds. For now, I prefer to take our own car – or hail a Grab – instead whenever we have to go out. However, these Grab fees can very easily add up when I’m out running errands, which typically require multi-destinations trips. Even a family day out might involve several locations, so if you don’t have your own car, it can get pretty inconvenient / expensive.

This is why it may make more financial sense to rent a car instead. Here’s how the costs might look like:

Renting > Owning

Unless your job requires it, owning a car is often expensive in Singapore. While it is no doubt convenient, the price tag for such convenience may be too high for some, especially if you don’t need to use the car often. Let’s not forget that aside from the hefty COE fees, there’s also other costs including petrol, maintenance, motor insurance, road taxes, parking, neighbourhood season parking and more.

So unless you’re a salesperson or with young kids / elderly parents to ferry around regularly, you may be better off taking the occasional Grab instead.

Pay only for what you use

You’re wasting money for every hour that your car is being under-utilised, which is the case for many car owners because the truth is, how much time do you really spend driving around? As a car owner, this cost is completely borne by you. 

But when you rent, you get away by paying only for the hours you need. Whether you require a car for just an hour or an entire day out with the family, there are both hourly and daily rental options available for you to choose from.

Where can I get cheaper car rentals?

There are many places that offer car rental services, but the cheapest way to do so would be through car-sharing platforms.

Some of you might already be familiar with BlueSG, where you pay either $8 or $18 a month to subscribe and get access to the network, based on a pay-per-minute charging model. There are 300 pick-up locations to choose from, although a BlueSG car may not always be available at the nearest location to you.

Is renting a car cheaper than taking Grab?

byBudget BabeSeptember 04, 20200 Comments

Are your Grab ride fees adding up too quickly for your liking? Consider renting a car from your neighbours for a safer and more affordable option instead, either by the hourly or from $35 per day. Fully insured and approved by LTA, this could be your solution for your next errand or family day out.

Public transport and Grab has made it super easy and convenient for us to get around Singapore, even if we don’t own a car. If you’ve been avoiding public transport like me (due to to virus), here’s a third option you can also consider – car sharing or renting.

Drive lah, a Singapore-based startup, offers both hourly and daily rental options.


I used to commute on public transport often, but ever since the pandemic started, my public transport expenses have fallen to almost zero because we’ve been trying to avoid the crowds. For now, I prefer to take our own car – or hail a Grab – instead whenever we have to go out. However, these Grab fees can very easily add up when I’m out running errands, which typically require multi-destinations trips. Even a family day out might involve several locations, so if you don’t have your own car, it can get pretty inconvenient / expensive.

This is why it may make more financial sense to rent a car instead. Here’s how the costs might look like:

GrabBlueSGDrive lah
A grocery run$12 x 2 = $24$8 (monthly subscription) + ($0.33 x 60 minutes) = $27.80from $20  (2 hours)
Sunday family outing to town($25 x 2) + ($12 x 2 for a nearby lunch place) = $74 $8 + ($0.33 x 180 minutes) = $67.40(provided there’s a blueSG pick-up and drop-off at each location. 1 car model only.)from $50 per day (more flexible locations + car models)
    

Renting > Owning

Unless your job requires it, owning a car is often expensive in Singapore. While it is no doubt convenient, the price tag for such convenience may be too high for some, especially if you don’t need to use the car often. Let’s not forget that aside from the hefty COE fees, there’s also other costs including petrol, maintenance, motor insurance, road taxes, parking, neighbourhood season parking and more.

So unless you’re a salesperson or with young kids / elderly parents to ferry around regularly, you may be better off taking the occasional Grab instead.

Pay only for what you use

You’re wasting money for every hour that your car is being under-utilised, which is the case for many car owners because the truth is, how much time do you really spend driving around? As a car owner, this cost is completely borne by you. 

But when you rent, you get away by paying only for the hours you need. Whether you require a car for just an hour or an entire day out with the family, there are both hourly and daily rental options available for you to choose from.

Where can I get cheaper car rentals?

Rent from your peers for as little as $35 per day on Drive lah

There are many places that offer car rental services, but the cheapest way to do so would be through car-sharing platforms.

If you don’t want to have to pay a monthly subscription fee (this seldom makes sense if you’re not sure whether you need the car regularly), another option to consider is Drive lah. Touted as the Airbnb for cars, Drive lah is Singapore’s first peer-to-peer car sharing platform and as a result, the rental fees are generally 30% to 40% cheaper than other car rental companies.

In addition, if you want to be able to try out different car models, Drive lah has more than 100 car models for you to choose from, unlike BlueSG which has only one electric car model. 

Costs and car model options aside, because you’re renting from a peer, you

  • Don’t have to travel far to pick up the car – most of the time, you’ll be able to find a car available for rental within your own neighbourhood
  • Flexible pick-up hours – more so than most car rental companies, where you’ve to book in advance and may not be available on weekends since the office isn’t open. If you need a car for a last-minute errand or even for a supper run at 2am to satisfy your pregnant wife’s food cravings, try Drive lah
  • Extremely convenient – because you’re basically renting from your neighbours, you can easily get a car to run your errands at anytime, to travel anywhere (even to Malaysia, with no extra cost! Simply enter “Malaysia” as your search filter)

You’ll also get comprehensive insurance protection with each booking – underwritten by Tokio Marine – which covers personal accident, vehicle damage, bodily injury and excess, etc. This is applied to the approved driver during the period of rental, so there’s no need to get an additional third-party insurance policy just because.

BlueSG is great because of its 24/7 accessibility, but you’ll probably find Drive lah even more  convenient since you no longer need to travel far to dedicated pick-up locations. Depending on which car you rent and when, this could be as easy as walking downstairs to your neighbourhood carpark and driving off right away. I tend to get stressed out with rental options that charge by the minute, because every extra minute I’m held up on the road means I’ve to pay for. Drive lah’s human-to-human sharing model is a lot more flexible in this sense, somewhat like Airbnb where you can discuss with your host on a later check-out (without extra fees) if you really need it. 

Another interesting feature on the platform is that of Drive lah GO, where you don’t even need to meet the host physically since contactless access to the car via your phone is possible.

And just like on Airbnb, you can even read reviews of hosts that other users have left behind before deciding which host to rent from. We saw a Mercedes being rented for a day at $70 where the condition of the car was not only clean and well-kept, but host was also extremely diligent in sanitizing his car before renting it out. He was also thoughtful in providing stuff like an umbrella, USB charger, phone holder and cashcard if you don’t have one on-hand. 

So if you need a better solution than Grab to run your errands / bring your family out, check out Drive lah for a rental car from your neighbourhood instead.

This article was originally published by sgbudgetbabe.com. https://www.sgbudgetbabe.com/2020/09/is-renting-car-cheaper-than-taking-grab.html

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