Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.
(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(8) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(d) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
When we have these types of SC questions, where the underline portion consists of > 90% of the text, we need to be pretty methodical, CAREFUL and really, really, really understand the intended meaning. In this case, the fact that "last year" is not underline helps us in picking the right choice. So: focus on options that end in words that correctly "flow" into the words last year.
A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher... because refiners... are paying more.... THAN they were... [last year]. Than they were flows nicely into last year, and "they" correctly refers to refiners. Also, there's no ambiguity and words are not positioned in wrong places. So far so good, let's check the other options.
B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher.. STOP. Rise higher? What? That implies some force will elevate prices so they physically rise above their current position. Obviously, this makes no sense.. Even if we ignore rise higher, "5 dollars a barrel for crude oil more" is wrong. More should come after 5 dollars otherwise more incorrectly refers to crude oil and not dollars. So, the errors here are grammatical. Notice that "they did" nicely flows into "last year" because they did refers to refiners.. Still, B is wrong for the grammatical errors.
C) "Expectations are for" seems like a perfect trap for certain non-native test-takers, but people that have had extensive exposure to american english know this sounds all types of wrong. Expectations are "for" nothing at all, frankly.. Something(s) is/are EXPECTED, or something is expected OF someone else, but not "for". Also, Im not sure but I believe "this year's" refers to expectations and not prices (it doesn't matter though, the option has so many other errors). And again, we have an error with "more" at the end of the sentence.
D) Again with the weird use of expectation.. "It is the expectation that" refers to who? Who expects? this option implies some sort of universal, objective expectation. Also "will rise higher" again implies prices will be elevated past their current, more down-to-earth position. That's clearly not the author's intent.
E) this is the best "wrong" answer, but it's still riddled with wrong elements. "rise higher" is wrong, "5 dollars for oil more" is wrong, and Im not sure (but it's just a minor issue) that "year's" is used correctly either.
Anyway.. A is clearly right because it is not riddled with the grammatical/meaning errors that the other options are.