People In Philadelphia Aren’t Psyched Over New Soda Tax

With the start of the new year comes the start of several new laws, including a tax on sugary drinks in Philadelphia. While shoppers knew the extra cost was coming, that hasn’t stop them from being surprised when they set that bottle of soda on the checkout counter.

Sugary-beverage drinkers across the city aren’t exactly welcoming the tax with open arms, with many vowing on social media to stick to water instead or travel across the city line to procure drinks.

The tax, which was first announced in September and quickly became the subject of a beverage industry legal battle, adds $.015/ounce to the price a distributor pays for sodas — including diet drinks — and other sweetened beverages.

This means that the tax imposed on a 20-ounce bottle would be $.30, while the tax on a one-gallon jug of sweetened iced tea would be $1.92.

(Related: Here’s What You Should Know About Philadelphia’s New Tax On Soda)

The taxes are imposed at the distributor level, not at retail. While it was unclear at the time just how much of this additional cost would be passed onto customers, it is now becoming clear that many retailers don’t intend to absorb that extra charge.

One customer tells that he was surprise to see his bill increase when purchasing food and a drink at a local convenience store.

The man had stopped at a Wawa store to buy a quesadilla and a 20-ounce Sprite with the $5 remaining on a gift card. At $2.29 for the drink, his bill was too much and he put back the soda.

“Now I’ve got to eat this dry … salty quesadilla, and I’ve got to be thirsty?” he tells

Other customers showed their disdain for the new tax by making promises to not drink sugary beverages.

It should be noted that most sugary drink taxes are enacted as a way to curb obesity, so their protests are really just helping the mission.

Despite the numerous unhappy Tweets over the tax, others defended it, reports Philadelphia Magazine.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.