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Week 10/13/96

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Calculating the Cost of Soft Drinks

You've probably been behind one in the grocery store check out line: someone buying multiple quantities of soft drinks. Maybe you are that person. Do you know how much are you really paying for your colas?

Let's convert the price per container into the price per gallon (PPG). (This allows us to compare the price of soda to the price of milk or gasoline, or some other liquid substance we buy by the gallon.) Bear in mind that a Gallon contains 128 oz. No matter the size of the container, we can use the same formula to convert "per container" cost into "per Gallon" cost, as long as we have a conversion factor at hand (provided here). Our formula is:

$ Container 128 oz. $ ------------- * ------- = ------ (Ounces cancel out.) Container oz. Gallon Gallon $ Cont. Cont. Oz. Gal./Cont. PPG 2 liter soda* $ 0.99 67.635 0.5284 $1.87 12 pack $ 2.99 144 1.125 $2.65 Vending Machine can $ 0.60 12 0.09375 $6.40 * Conversion Factor: 1 Gallon = 3.785 Liters. Therefore 2 Liters = 0.5284 Gallons, or 67.635 oz.

Compare these figures to the PPG of milk or gas. Then, ask yourself if you would be willing to pay the PPG price on milk or gas that you pay for soda. Can you really afford to?

Reasons for buying soda include taste, and lack of knowledge of the price. We've taken care of the second here. Frugal consumers will find a way to substitute a drink that tastes good, but at a lower PPG.

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