SINGAPORE (CNN) -- The city-state of Singapore may be well known for its ban on chewing-gum and its clean streets. But maintaining environmental standards involves a lot more than keeping up appearances. And for anyone who wants to drive a car, it can be very expensive.
A car contest in Singapore means days in the hot sun, but the last one standing with their hand still on, drives away with the new car.
You could say it's worth it since Singapore is one of if not the most expensive place in the world to buy a car. Why? The government tries to price them out of reach to limit the number of cars in this small crowded urban country.
Before you even buy a car in Singapore you have to pay for a certificate of entitlement. Each month, the government puts a limited number up for bidding.
Add in a hefty import tax and a registration fee, and your total? As much as eight times the base car price! Writer Cheryl Tay says, "So, for example, a China made really small hatchback would be in Singapore, would be equivalent to a Porsche Boxster in America, yeah."
Tay is a writer specializing in cars and motorsports. She says, "It's the mindset, it's all about. You know, one of the first questions I get is 'what kind of car do you drive? No longer do you have a car, but what car do you drive?
While Singaporeans may be car focused, many can't afford cars. But in this small, increasingly affluent country, there's enough demand to keep the bidding for those required government certificates high. The recent certificate price broke a record at more than $63,000 u-s dollars for a small car.
Marcus Lim can afford several cars. He says family is why most Singaporeans want cars. He says, "In Singapore as the saying goes, a parent is slave to your child, so for me, I'm slave to my family, I want to make sure they have the convenience of having transportation at any point of time they would require that."
And why not make the prize possession the showpiece of your home? In Singapore, you can live with your car, literally. In one condo, the car parks itself right in your flat, perfect for that sports car with a massive Singapore price tag. Leny Suparman with KOP Properties says, "I think Singaporeans generally love cars - people are still willing to splurge on beautiful sports cars."
Lim says, "It doesn't seem like the traffic's improving. In fact it's just getting worse. We're just running out of road you know."
Seventy-eight hours after the contest begins, one man has hung in for the free car. Well, not exactly free. He'll still have to pay the taxes and for that pricey government certificate. More than this car alone would likely cost in any other part of the world.