A certain mayor has proposed a fee of five dollars per day on private vehicles entering the city, claiming that the fee will alleviate the city’s traffic congestion. The mayor reasons that, since the fee will exceed the cost of round-trip bus fare from many nearby points, many people will switch from using their cars to using the bus.
Which of the following statements, if true, provides the best evidence that the mayor’s reasoning is flawed?
(A) Projected increases in the price of gasoline will increase the cost of taking a private vehicle into the city.
(B) The cost of parking fees already makes it considerably more expensive for most people to take a private vehicle into the city than to take a bus.
(C) Most of the people currently riding the bus do not own private vehicles.
(D) Many commuters opposing the mayor’s plan have indicated that they would rather endure traffic congestion than pay a five-dollar-per day fee.
(E) During the average workday, private vehicles owned and operated by people living within the city account for twenty percent of the city’s traffic congestion.
In the interest of fleshing out the reasoning a bit here, you can indeed simplify the argument as follows:
(P1) If driving a car costs more than taking the bus --> many people will switch from cars to buses
(P2) The proposed fee will make the cost of driving a car higher than busing.
, the fee will lead people to switch from cars to buses.
Now, consider the answer choices with respect to the argument.
(A) Gas prices are irrelevant. They may make the fee superfluous, but they do not really undermine the reasoning that the fee would have its intended effect.
(B) If it's already considerably more expensive to drive a car into the city, we have reason to doubt premise 1.
(C) Current bus riders are irrelevant. We're concerned about switching.
(D) Opinions about the fee do not affect whether or not it would have the intended effect.
(E) This fact has nothing to do with costs, so we can ignore it.
So, the answer that provides the best evidence the original argument is flawed is
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