Printer ink

The ink and toner you need to keep your computer's printer from being more than a paperweight is among the costliest substances you can buy -- many times more expensive than gold, champagne and gasoline.

Why so much? Printers share a common trait with video game consoles: Both are loss leaders. For the latter, your Xbox, Wii or PlayStation sells at a loss, with the makers recouping their investment from the markup on games. Printers may not have high-end graphics chips and the like driving up their baseline, but the ink they require nevertheless comes at a huge premium.

The website DataGenetics crunched the numbers and came to a shocking conclusion: Assuming a cartridge sells for $16.99, the 19 milliliters of ink it contains amounts to nearly $65,000 a gallon.

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