The High Cost of Printing: A Liquid Comparison

Everyone complains about the cost of inkjet printer ink, but have you ever sat down and figured out what you’re really paying? How does ink, as a commodity, compare to other valuable liquids? If I asked you how much you pay for a gallon of gas, I bet you’d know. Can you guess what a gallon of inkjet ink costs? My coworker Russell Hart and I sat down with our pencils to do the math. Now, this was a pathetic sight, because Russell and I are decent writers and editors, and Russell is also a very go

Everyone complains about the cost of inkjet printer ink, but have you ever sat down and figured out what you're really paying? How does ink, as a commodity, compare to other valuable liquids? If I asked you how much you pay for a gallon of gas, I bet you'd know. Can you guess what a gallon of inkjet ink costs?
My coworker Russell Hart and I sat down with our pencils to do the math. Now, this was a pathetic sight, because Russell and I are decent writers and editors, and Russell is also a very good photographer, but at math we are, um, rusty. We worked hard at it, though, and we were only dealing in rough approximations anyway, but feel free to check our findings.
Russell checked the price of a 13ml cartridge of color ink for a Canon Pixma printer, which was about $15. That means a full liter would be about $1,170, which means a gallon of the stuff would cost roughly $4,000.
"Yikes," is what I said when we figured that out. When you pay that much for ink, it gives you a whole new perspective on things—like crude oil.