Bottled Water 2,000 Times Costlier Than Tap, Twice Gasoline Prices

Bottled water, it turns out, is a drain on the wallet. A recent study has found that consumers, on average, are paying at least 300 times more for water when they buy it in a bottle versus getting it from a tap.

But most are likely paying up to 2,000 times as much for the packaged beverage.

While tap water is available to most homes in the United States at virtually free prices, people continue buying water in bottles, which cost an average of $1.22 per gallon. This is about 300 times more than a gallon of tap water, says the new study.

However, it was noted in the study that two-thirds of bottle water sold in the US are one dollar, 16.9 ounce bottles. At that cost, consumers are paying an average of $7.57 per gallon — an incredible 2,000 times more expensive than tap water, reports Business Insider.

Compare this to the fact that average price of a gallon of gasoline across the country, currently hovering around $3.10 per gallon, and it is clear Americans love their bottled water.

And more Americans are loving their bottled water every year. The Beverage Marketing Corp. has estimated that in 2011 Americans spent $11.8 billion buying bottled water. Despite continuing economic difficulties and uncertainty, this was still a 6.5 percent growth over the previous year.

The recent study was conducted by ConvergEX, reports CNBC. The firm’s chief market strategist, Nicholas Colas, in light of the data and the continuing growth of bottled water sales, asks, “Can things be all that bad if consumers happily pay 300 times more than they have to for water?”

While Colas argues that this may indicate that, in the recent economic downturn, Americans are not hurting as much financially, at least not as much as is generally thought.

It could be argued, however, that bottled water is being seen by American consumers as less of a luxury, but as a necessity. The product’s continued popularity might result from poor local water quality, or at the least, a perception of bottled water being healthier or safer than water from the tap.

[Image via ShutterStock]