Blog: Andy MortonSmall measures required as Philadelphia soda tax adds up

Andy Morton | 4 January 2017

Philadelphia’s soda tax came into force on Sunday, and is reportedly causing a stir in the city's check-out aisles.

The tax is supposed to be carried by distributors, but they of course are passing it on to consumers. This week, local media reported consternation as some retailers chose to highlight on till receipts just how much the duty was adding to soft drinks purchases.

This meant one customer found he was paying a US$1.92 soda tax on a gallon of tea that cost just $1.77 untaxed. Elsewhere, a $5.99 ten-pack of flavoured water was hit with a $3.04 tax.

The soda tax, which was passed in June, is only $0.015 per ounce but it looks like the cost can add up when buying in bulk. Packaging sizes in soft drinks are already decreasing as producers cut back on calories, but if soda taxes become more widespread in the US, bottles and cans may get smaller still.

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