In response to the increasing cost of producing energy : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# In response to the increasing cost of producing energy

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In response to the increasing cost of producing energy [#permalink]

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03 Jun 2007, 17:57
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In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?

(A) The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
(B) No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
(C) Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
(D) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
(E) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by doe007 on 30 Apr 2013, 19:17, edited 1 time in total.
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19 Jul 2008, 06:03
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priyankur_saha@ml.com wrote:
In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?
A The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power. -> out of scope.eliminate
B No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.-> the new approach is due to fluctuation in availability not due to absence of resources of conventional fuels sources.Even if we get reserves and they get exhausted then this assumption proves wrong.Eliminate.
C Weather patterns are consistent and predictable. -> perfect since the whole article talks about going for renewable energy source due to its stable availability.Hence lets do a negation test : negate this statement and see.Weather is fluctuating and unpredictable then how are we supposed to get sunshine and wind at a stable level to harness energy.argument falls apart then.Hence this i the presupposition in the argument.IMO (C)
D The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion. -> its already said in passage that initial costs are high .these might be applicable to this clause.hence its not assumption
E Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky. -> its not that obtaining energy from gas,oil and coal is risky.its the sources availabilty .eliminate

I took 3mins to solve it but still went wrong...!!

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Re: In response to the increasing cost of producing energy [#permalink]

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30 Apr 2013, 19:47
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I see a lot of good posts on this thread and quite a number of similar explanations for the correctness of Option C.

However, as I look at the explanations given, I can see that they are not accurate. Most of the explanations revolve around the last line of the passage i.e.

"As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability."

The reasoning is that since renewable sources are less risky than nonrenewable sources whose prices can fluctuate dramatically, the assumption inbuilt is that the prices of renewable sources will be stable. This is an incorrect assumption. The only assumption is that the prices of renewable sources will be less fluctuating than nonrenewable sources; not that the prices of renewable sources will not fluctuate at all.

But then, how come Option C is the answer?

The answer is that you need to look at the second last statement of the passage - which also happens to be the claim of the utility companies but conveniently ignored by almost all of us in the analysis. Look at the question stem - it specifically talks about the claim of the utility companies. Both the second last and last statements of the passage are claims of the utility companies. We just cannot take second last statement as a given fact - it is a claim, which needs to be evaluated in this question.

So, what is the second last statement saying?

"The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost."

Now, tell me what is the assumption in the above statement?

The answer is option C. Because unless weather patterns are consistent and predictable, the renewable energy sources will not provide stable energy supplies.

That's it. The answer is quite simple to understand if we look at this second last statement. Isn't it?

Hope this helps a bit

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: CR - In response to the increasing cost of producing energy. [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2008, 08:52
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I chose E as my answer. If you negate option E, it will weaken the argument. Here's how to do it:

e) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, CAN be made less risky

by changing from "cannot" to "can", the negated result will weaken the argument big time, so this must be the correct answer.
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Re: CR - In response to the increasing cost of producing energy. [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2008, 16:58
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Just now I got why my answer B is incorrect and C is correct. Hint-reread the question again, it doesnt ask what is the assumption of the argument, rather question is what utility companies assume. In that context C is the best answer.

I freq noticed that many times in the CR, to create tough/tricky question test makers changes the frame of the question from the argument prespective to some third party prespective. Such as-

Head of neigbourhood watch: values of the houses are declines since the opening of the bus stand near the community. People are increasingly unwilling to buy house in the community near to the bus stand.

head of transportation: Values are declining not due to bus stand but due to increasing crime rate in the community. So police should be more active in the community area.

Question.. head of neigbourhood watch must reply which of the following to counter the response of the head of the trasportation?

A> Crime rates are increasing since the opening of the bus stand, specially in the night.
B> Many people are unwilling to buy houses near to the bus stand, reason bus stand often makes more noises in the night.

Hope this will help for people like me, who often misread questions..
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06 Oct 2009, 05:58
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Hi Syed.. I too thought that E would be appropriate the very first time....
But a lil thought into it and then u can delete E safely
Took me around 2.5 minutes, to do this....
Anyways nice responses ppl.....
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02 Nov 2009, 06:37
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The official answer is C. Though even i don't agree. Following is the explanation given.
Can any of the experts make it simpler for us to understand?

The conclusion of the argument is that renewable sources of energy, chiefly solar and wind, will be less risky for certain utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as oil and gas. The basis for this claim is that the renewable sources will provide stable, low-cost supplies of energy, whereas the prices for nonrenewable sources will fluctuate according to availability. We are asked to find an assumption underlying this argument. In order for this argument to be valid, it must in fact be true that these renewable sources of energy will provide stable, low-cost supplies.

(A) The utility companies' claim has to do with the supply risk of the new energy sources, not with how these sources are received by the public.

(B) If no new supplies of traditional energy sources are found, then it is true that perhaps these nonrenewable supplies will continue to fluctuate in price in a risky manner. However, the argument does not depend upon any assumption about the future discovery of oil and gas supplies.

(C) CORRECT. If we assume that weather patterns are consistent and predictable, then with the stated premises, we can conclude that solar and wind power will be less risky than oil and gas. If, on the other hand, weather patterns are not consistent and predictable, then solar and wind power are not reliable and thus will not provide "stable energy supplies at low cost." Thus, the argument's conclusion directly depends on this assumption.

(D) To reach the required conclusion, it is not necessary to assume that the conversion technology for new sources is not more expensive than the present technology.

(E) This choice does not directly affect the argument. Whether or not energy produced through combustion can be made less risky, the new energy sources might still be less risky than the older sources.
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In response to the increasing cost of producing energy [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2011, 07:50
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In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?
a) The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
b) No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
c) Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
d) The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
e) Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.
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Re: Assumption - very difficult [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2011, 08:30
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Did you find D more attractive? Lets look at claim-
"The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost."

Conclusion - As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

Two examples are cited in the arg -
traditional resources -> example is combustion
renewable energy resources -> example is chiefly wind and solar power

I dont think above two examples even represent the broad scope of "traditional" Vs "renewable energy resources". I mean comparing "just" these will not help unless you compare the whole. I think the utility companies scope is broader hence D cannot support the argument. However C is what we need for "stable" supply of energy. And if the weather patterns cannot be predicted, the argument collapses - the prices now will fluctuate for the renewable resources. Hence C.
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Re: Assumption - very difficult [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2011, 08:48
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I think the "negate the assumption" technique solves this one.

A) If the public does not embrace the project, utility companies can still keep their project.
B) If deposits of gas, oil or coal are found, the companies can still use renewable energy.
C) If weather patterns are not consistent and predictable, a month without wind and sun would undermine their project.
D) If the technology is expensive but they want to invest, there is no problem. They will lose money but will be able to achieve their goal, which is to rely completely on renewable energy sources.
E) Again, if obtaining energy from those sources can be made less risky, the companies can still complete their project.

The only necessary assumption is C.
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04 Jun 2007, 04:01
Is it C?
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04 Jun 2007, 10:29
Tough call between A and C. I tilt towards C though
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04 Jun 2007, 10:36
Another C
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04 Jun 2007, 11:11
C as well.

I was gonna go with D till I realized that they acknowledge the initial cost in the paragraph.

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05 Jun 2007, 10:51
r019h wrote:
C as well.

I was gonna go with D till I realized that they acknowledge the initial cost in the paragraph.

Me too
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In response to the increasing cost of producing energy [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2008, 05:38
In response to the increasing cost of producing energy through traditional means, such as combustion, many utility companies have begun investing in renewable energy sources, chiefly wind and solar power, hoping someday to rely on them completely and thus lower energy costs. The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. As a result, these sources will be less risky for the utilities than nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, whose prices can fluctuate dramatically according to availability.

The claim of the utility companies presupposes which of the following?
A The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
B No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
C Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
D The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
E Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.

I took 3mins to solve it but still went wrong...!!
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19 Jul 2008, 05:57
A The public will embrace the development of wind and solar power.
B No new deposits of gas, oil, and coal will be discovered in the near future.
C Weather patterns are consistent and predictable.
D The necessary technology for conversion to wind and solar power is not more expensive than the technology needed to create energy through combustion.
E Obtaining energy from nonrenewable sources, such as gas, oil and coal, cannot be made less risky.

I think the answer is B since the discussion deals mostly with economic benefits of using renewable energy. And B cleary indicates that discovering no new deposit in world will drive up the prices of gas,oil and coal which will make the author's explanation right. What is the original answer?
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Re: CR - In response to the increasing cost of producing energy. [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2008, 16:40
Did anyone think about b? Frankly but C has not connection with the argument, I some how feel that c is outside the scope. I think B is the best answer.
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Re: CR - In response to the increasing cost of producing energy. [#permalink]

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26 Aug 2008, 17:59
The utility companies claim that although these sources require significant initial capital investment, they will provide stable energy supplies at low cost. But this is possible only if " Weather patterns are consistent and predictable. ".

Thus C
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26 Aug 2008, 18:57
dahcrap wrote:
Tough call between A and C. I tilt towards C though

I don't know if the public embracing the technologies is too relevant. However, "C" surely is.

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Re:   [#permalink] 26 Aug 2008, 18:57

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