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Tess Riski

On Monday, the Seattle City Council approved the sugary beverage tax. The levy, which goes into effect on January 1, adds 1.75 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages. City council members say the tax serves two purposes: 1. Discouraging people from consuming sugar, which is linked to diabetes and heart disease, and 2. Creating a funding stream for programs aimed at closing the achievement gap between students of color and white students.

Some beverages will be exempt from the tax, including drinks that contain milk as the primary ingredient, alcoholic beverages, drinks with 100% fruit juice, and drinks that contain fewer than 40 calories per 12 ounce serving. Council members considered, but ultimately voted against, an amendment that would add diet soda to the list of taxable drinks.

Critics of the tax argue that it will disproportionately target low-income people and people of color, who tend to drink sugary beverages more often than wealthier white people.

To be clear, the tax will be placed on the distributors, who will decide how much to pass on to retailers, who ultimately decide how much consumers pay.

If you’re confused about which drink prices will rise and which will stay the same, you’re not alone. To clear up some confusion, I made a trip to the Harvard Market QFC to find out how much, exactly, certain beverages could cost beginning in 2018 if all of the tax is passed on. (Thanks to Philly.com. We totally cribbed your idea.)

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Starbucks S’mores Frappuccino (Pictured right.)
Price: $5.45 (including sales tax)
Ounces: 16
Sugar tax: No

Despite containing 67 grams of sugar and 490 calories, this Frappuccino consists primarily of milk, and is therefore excluded.

Starbucks Passionfruit Iced Tea
Old Price: $2.70 (including sales tax)
Ounces: 16
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $2.98


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Arizona Arnold Palmer Lite Iced Tea & Lemonade
Old Price: $4.17
Ounces: 128
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $6.41


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Zico Coconut Water (unflavored)
Price: $3.29
Ounces: 16.9
Sugar tax: No

Unflavored Zico Coconut Water consists of 100% coconut water with no added sugar. Other flavored versions, though, such as chocolate and pineapple, contain added sugar and will be taxed.


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Sunny Delight
Old Price: $2.19
Ounces: 64
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $3.31


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Vitamin Water Zero
Price: $1.53
Ounces: 20
Sugar tax: No

Similar to a diet soda, Vitamin Water Zero contains no added sugar. Regular vitamin water will be taxed.


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POG (Passion Orange Guava)
Old Price: $4.29
Ounces: 64
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $5.40


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Mio, Kool Aid, and Crystal Lite drink sweeteners
Price: $3.29-4.39
Sugar tax: No

According to the bill, “any concentrate that the consumer combines with other ingredients to create a beverage,” such as Kool Aid and the like, are excluded from the tax.


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Newman’s Own Virgin Limeade
Old Price: $2.63
Ounces: 59
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $3.66


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Mountain Dew
Old Price: $6.59
Ounces: 12 cans at 12 ounces each
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $9.11

Diet Mountain Dew
Price: $6.59
Ounces: 12 cans at 12 ounces each
Sugar tax: No

Diet Mountain Dew is exempt, meaning it will cost $2.52 less than its non-diet counterpart.


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2-liter Pepsi
Old Price: $1.97
Ounces: 42.2
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $2.71


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Snapple
Old Price: $1.64
Ounces: 16
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $1.92


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Henry Weinhard’s Root Beer
Old Price: $12.11
Ounces: 12 cans at 12 ounces each
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $14.63


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Red Bull
Old Price: $26.41
Ounces: 12 cans at 8.4 ounces each
Sugar tax: Yes
Total Price: $28.17


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Sunkist Grape Soda
Old Price: $6.59
Ounces: 12 cans at 12 ounce each
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $9.11


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Gatorade
Old Price: $1.64
Ounces: 32
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $2.20


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Almond Breeze with vanilla flavoring
Price: $4.17
Ounces: 64
Sugar tax: No

According to the bill, all milks – almond, rice, soy, coconut, you name it – qualify for the exemption. Even though cane sugar is the second ingredient on this Almond Breeze label, it will not be taxed.


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Monster Energy Drinks
Old Price: $18.71
Ounces: 10 cans at 16 ounces each
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $21.51


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Ocean Spray CranApple
Old Price: $5.49
Ounces: 101.4
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $7.27


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Sweet Leaf Iced Tea
Old Price: $1.64
Ounces: 16
Sugar tax: Yes
New Price: $1.92


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Martinelli’s Pomegranate Apple Cider
Old Price: $3.84
Ounces: 24.4
Sugar tax: No
New Price: $3.84

According to the ingredient label, Martinelli’s is made up of 100% pasteurized apple juice and pomegranate juice concentrate with no added sugar.