The Mystery of the Frozen Block of Soda

Oct 10, 2005

RAY: Last month, Tommy and I were driving home from the Annual Seat Cover Convention. We stopped for gas along the highway. While our tank was being filled, we went inside to buy ourselves some soft drinks. As we reached inside the fridge to grab our drinks the kid behind the counter-- you know, with the one with the six nose rings-- said, "That machine was on the blink yesterday, and everyone was complaining all day that their sodas weren't cold. So, before I put these sodas in this morning, I cranked that baby up! I turned the thermostat way down. Boy, those suckers ought to be real cold now! I won't get any complaints today, I bet."

Tommy opens his bottle and begins drinking the soda. But when I opened my bottle, it was frozen solid. I complained.

What happened?
RAY: Back in the old days when we were kids, all sodas had sugar in them. The dissolved sugar is what kept the soda from freezing, even if the temperature was below 32 degrees. It would lower the freezing point, just like anti-freeze lowers the freezing point of water.

Nowadays, however, soda machines are filled not only with regular soda pop that's been around forever, but diet soda that doesn't have sugar in it, and will freeze at 32 degrees.

So, you bought a regular soda and I bought a diet soda. And that's why you're a fat bastard.

Who's our winner this week?

TOM: The winner is Karl Lindsay from Russell, Kentucky, and for having his answer selected at random from among all the correct answers that we got, Karl is going to get a 26 dollar gift certificate to the Shameless Commerce Division at our web site,, with which he can get our new unboxed set, The Best of Car Talk.

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