By the numbers: millions and billions

By The Numbers: Real Big Figures

soft drink sales

$867.4 billion

Sales of all soft drinks on the planet last year, according to market research company Euromonitor International. If everyone stopped drinking soda, they’d have enough to pay off every credit card bill in the United States ($847 billion).

natural disaster cost

$132 billion

The cost of all 258 natural disasters around the globe in 2014, according to insurance firm AON. Insurance companies paid out $39 billion in claims, and while “natural disaster” conjures up images of hurricanes and earthquakes, the costliest last year were… thunderstorms. One in Europe last June ($3 billion) and another in the United States last May ($2.9 billion).

revenue passengers

135,767,188

“Revenue passengers” who flew Southwest last year — that means “paying customers.” Interestingly, Southwest had a total of 110,496,912 “enplaned passengers,” which means all passengers, paid and unpaid. So that means 25,270,276 people flew Southwest for free.

new car sales

16.9 million

Kelly Blue Book‘s educated guess on new car sales this year. Should that come true, it’ll be up 2.5 percent — and represent one new car per every 14 adults in the nation.

tablet sales

1.9 million

Computer tablets that school districts bought for their K-12 students in 2014, according to market research firm Simba Intelligence. That’s not a lot when you consider there are 48 million public school students. But here’s what is: an average price of $476 per tablet. An iPad Air with Retina display is only $449 from Staples. Your tax dollars hard at work.

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