If you’ve ever griped about the cost of printer ink—and at this point, who hasn’t?—then prepare for some well-deserved schadenfreude. On Wednesday morning, a tractor-trailer spilled 18,144kg of printer ink onto an Atlanta highway in what is undoubtedly a really freaking expensive crash.
According to a local Atlanta news station, the accident occurred around in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Authorities said a car cut in front of the truck on the I-285 South, which then caused the truck to lose control. Cue 18,144kg of ink spilling out across multiple lanes and massive delays. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the situation has been handled with traffic reopened but a massive ink stain still remains across the interstate. No injuries were reported. It’s unclear who the spilled ink belongs to and Gizmodo has reached out to the Atlanta Police Department to ask which unlucky ink company is having a bad week. We’ll update this post when we receive a reply.
TRAFFIC RED ALERT: Big rig crash blocks all lanes of I-285/sb south of I-20 (exit 10) in Fulton County. All outer loop traffic being diverted off of I-285 at Hollowell Parkway (exit 12.) Live #ATLtraffic updates on #wsbtv. pic.twitter.com/92lsGjlQhe
— Mark Arum (@MarkArum) March 20, 2019
Time for some cocktail napkin maths. Black printer ink is often cited as one of the most expensive liquids in the world. According to Consumer Reports, the cheapest cartridge replacement is about $US13 ($18) per ounce, and the most expensive is about $US95 ($133) per ounce. That means a gallon of this stuff costs somewhere between $US1,664 ($2,329) and a whopping $US12,160 ($17,020) per gallon. A Google search reveals the average cost of a gallon of printer ink is $US2,700 ($3,779).
And, 18,144kg of printer ink is about 4,793 gallons. Presto-maths-o, and $US12,941,100 ($18,113,555) is a reasonable guesstimate of how much this crash potentially cost. It’s even worse if you go by WSB-TV’s calculations, which put the 18,144kg of ink at 20,820l or $US14,850,000 ($20,785,428). Holy gadzooks. This is just a vague estimate but it’s probably safe to say this crash cost a gazillion dollars.
Our sister site Jalopnik listed the most expensive crashes of all time, and even if this truck dumped the cheapest possible printer ink, at $US7.9 ($11) million, this would definitely rank near the top of the list. The aforementioned Consumer Reports story also notes that most of the printer ink you buy doesn’t actually end up on the pages you print. In fact, most of it ends up “cleaning print heads and other maintenance chores.” Now, think about the fact that crews cleaned up that precious precious ink with regular ol’ sand and dirt, and how that will make some fat cat printer ink executive feel sad. Let’s hope they didn’t have insurance.