Image Credit: Wikiwand

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to go to Pulau Ubin with a friend of mine for a nice Sunday hike in nature. Whilst on the island, I was very thrilled by many things, including:

  • A wild boar that we chanced upon (it was very docile)
  • The beautiful scenery (it truly felt like we were in a different era and country)
  • This cheery purple van that would appear ever so often, and:

What was interesting about the van was that, firstly, it looked extremely out of place against the au natural backdrop of greens and browns. Secondly, its license plate started with the letters “PU”. For Pulau Ubin! After that, I got a tad bit curious about license plate numbers in Singapore – And that is how this article was born.

Without further ado, here are 5 fun facts about car plate numbers in Singapore:

1. Like so many other things, Singaporean Car Licence Plates have to follow strict measurements

Image Credit: June Andrei | Unsplash

Car plate characters must strictly adhere to the following requirements:

-They must be 70mm, 50mm wide, and 10mm broad

-The space between adjoining characters must be 10mm

-Any space between letters and numbers must be 20mm

-The margin between the nearest part of any character, and the top or bottom of the license plate must be 10mm

-The margin between the nearest part of any character, and the sides of the license plate must be 20mm

Singapore, you’re such a stickler when it comes to rules, and the Microsoft Excel soul in me kinda loves that about you.

1. You have to bid for new car plate numbers, like how you can bid to put your kids in an elite primary school

Image Credit: ArtNet News

Just like you did during the COE bidding exercise, you’ll also have to bid for your car plate number if you’re getting a new car. Bids start from $1,000, are increased by the dollar, and are done through the One Motoring website.

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Depending on the series and demand, certain license plate character combinations can go up to tens of thousands of dollars. If you didn’t manage to find a car plate you liked, don’t fret:

3. You can purchase rare or vintage car plate numbers from other owners or collectors

Image Credit: Hermes Rivera | Unsplash

If being ordinary isn’t quite your thing, you might wanna show off your atypical personality with a rare license plate. You can easily bid for these unique plates online, and could even find vintage, single-digit, or lucky-number plates if you’re fortunate enough.

Read More – 5 Creative Ways to Avoid Traffic Jams in Singapore

Due to the collector value and rarity of some of these car plates, they can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $250,000.

4. Different colours represent different types of vehicles

Image Credit: Motorist SG

We bet you’ve already noticed that license plates have different colours in Singapore. Here’s a speedy summary of what the different colours mean:



White characters on black

Private vehicles

White characters on dark red

Off-peak vehicles

White characters on yellow and blue

Research and Development vehicles

Black characters on orange

Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) Transportation vehicles

White characters on dark red and yellow

Vintage and Classic vehicles

White characters on green

Pulau Ubin vehicles

White characters on dark red and green

Restricted use vehicles

5. Different prefixes and suffixes represent different vehicles too

Image Credit: Empty Vessel

Just like colours, prefixes and suffixes represent different types of vehicles as well. Singapore really deserves a medal for its organizational skills.

Prefix / Suffix



SBS Transit buses


SMRT buses


The official state car for the Singapore President


Cars belonging to the Supreme Court Judges


This car of the Commissioner of the Singapore Police Force


Vehicles belonging to the Enforcement Department of the Land Transport Authority (LTA)


Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) vehicles


Military Police Command vehicles


Private hire vehicles and buses


Pulau Ubin vehicles


Vehicles belonging to Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence


Research and Development vehicles


Restricted Use vehicles

S, ending with CD

Vehicles of foreign diplomats


Vehicles belonging to the Traffic Police

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