Bottled Water vs Tap Water

Bottled Water Calculator

How much water do you drink?

Edit the values below to see how much you could be saving.
Enter the total number of 16 oz. bottles of water you drink in a year:
Cost of Tap Water per Gallon:
(If you know your local cost, please enter –
othewise leave the national average.)
Cost of 16 oz Bottle of Water (typical is $1.50):


Total Water Consumed: gallons
Extra Water Required for Production and Purification: gallons
Energy Required for Manufacturing: megajoules
Oil Required to Produce the Plastic Bottle(s): gallons
CO2e to Manufacture Plastic Bottle(s): pounds

Your Extra Cost for Bottled Water:

Because FDA’s experience over the years has shown that bottled water has a good safety record, bottled water plants generally are assigned low priority for inspection.

Bottled Water vs Tap Water

Regulation: Bottled Water vs Tap Water

Issue Bottled Water
Regulated by FDA
Tap Water
Regulated by EPA
E. Coli A certain amount of any bacteria is allowed. Cannot have confirmed E. coli or fecal Coliform bacteria.
Filtration No federal filtration or disinfection requirements. Filtered and/or disinfected
Enforcement Bottled water in violation of standards can still be sold. Violation of drinking water standards are grounds for enforcement.
Testing Such testing is not required for bottlers. Utilities must have their water tested by certified labs.
Reporting There are no reporting requirements for bottlers. Tap water results must be reported to state or federal officials.
Certification Bottled water plant operators do not have to be certified. Water system operators must be certified.
Right-to-know There are no public right-to-know requirements for bottlers. Water suppliers must issue consumer confidence reports annually.
Expense Costs $.80 to $4.00 per gallon. Costs pennies a day.
Nutrition Natural minerals are removes by filtration. Contains essential nutrients for the body such as calcium and iron.
Bacteria No disinfectant present to kill bacteria in bottles. Chlorine residual in water to prevent bacteria growth.

Bottled Water Cost

5 Reasons Not to Drink Bottled Water

Bottled water works out to paying 5 cents and ounce for a 20 ounce bottle costing $1. In comparison, tap water costs less than 1 cent per gallon. The average price of gas in the United States is around $3 a gallon, or 2 cents an ounce, so you are paying over twice as much for bottled water by volume as you are for gasoline.

Worried About Contaminants in Your Drinking Water? Skip Bottled Water and Opt for a Home Filter.

The government does not mandate that bottled water be any safer than tap water. In fact, the chemical pollution standards are nearly identical.

Pure Drink or Pure Hype?

A study of bottled water by the NRDC shows that in the US 60-70% of bottled water is exempted from the FDA’s standards, 17% contained high levels of bacteria, and 22% contained levels of arsenic and other toxic chemicals too high to pass strict EPA safety standards.