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As the US increased the production of natural gas

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As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 00:19
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41% (01:32) correct 59% (01:42) wrong based on 172 sessions

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As the US increased the production of natural gas released from underground shale formations, creating more output of polyethylene, it was expected that makers of plastic products such as plastic trash bags, toys, containers etc., which use polyethylene as a raw material, would benefit from the same as a result of the decrease in the price of natural gas. However, makers of plastic products have instead reported no cost benefit as a result of the increase in the supply of natural gas.

Which of the following, if true, most explains the zero cost benefit as reported by the makers of plastic products mentioned in the above argument?

A: To discourage people from using plastic products, many countries have started levying heavy taxes on the plastic industry as a measure to increase the cost of production and the resultant price of plastic products.

B: The price of ethane, a component of natural gas and raw material for polyethylene has decreased due to the increased supply of natural gas.

C: The makers of polyethylene have increased their profit margins and hence are not passing on lower cost benefits to their customers.

D: It is predicted that plastic manufacturers will eventually realize cost benefits, once the production of natural gas is further ramped up.

E: Since the production of natural gas released from shale formation has increased, the demand for plastic products has decreased significantly.

Explanations please... Thanks
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 00:30
can you please explain why is a wrong? I find this option very subtle. On thing to note here is that option a talks about users, so even if there is a high tax being levied on the polythelene, the makers of plastic product will also increase the price i.e they will also add their fair share of tax. So there is nothing that actually undermines the cost benefit directly. So i eliminated this option. Is this reasoning correct? C on the other hand was very direct. thanks
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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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bkpolymers1617 wrote:
As the US increased the production of natural gas released from underground shale formations, creating more output of polyethylene, it was expected that makers of plastic products such as plastic trash bags, toys, containers etc., which use polyethylene as a raw material, would benefit from the same as a result of the decrease in the price of natural gas. However, makers of plastic products have instead reported no cost benefit as a result of the increase in the supply of natural gas.

Which of the following, if true, most explains the zero cost benefit as reported by the makers of plastic products mentioned in the above argument?

A: To discourage people from using plastic products, many countries have started levying heavy taxes on the plastic industry as a measure to increase the cost of production and the resultant price of plastic products.

B: The price of ethane, a component of natural gas and raw material for polyethylene has decreased due to the increased supply of natural gas.

C: The makers of polyethylene have increased their profit margins and hence are not passing on lower cost benefits to their customers.

D: It is predicted that plastic manufacturers will eventually realize cost benefits, once the production of natural gas is further ramped up.

E: Since the production of natural gas released from shale formation has increased, the demand for plastic products has decreased significantly.

Explanations please... Thanks


The makers of plastic products use polyethylene as a raw material and makers of polyethylene are dependent on natural gas for production of polyethylene.
If the gas production increases and consequently it becomes cheap, then makers of polyethylene benefit from the same.
Now, if these makers increase their profit and do not pass on the benefit to makers of plastic products, their customers, then production of plastic products won't become cheap.

Hope this clears!

Hence, the answer is C

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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 05:07
Hi,
I am perplexed by this question .
Zero cost saving is for the producers not for consumers i think then how come c is right .
Am i correct ?
Can some explain why is C correct and A wrong.
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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jun 2017, 06:10
As the US increased the production of natural gas released from underground shale formations, creating more output of polyethylene, it was expected that makers of plastic products such as plastic trash bags, toys, containers etc., which use polyethylene as a raw material, would benefit from the same as a result of the decrease in the price of natural gas.

Conclusion :However, makers of plastic products have instead reported no cost benefit as a result of the increase in the supply of natural gas.

We must focus on the question we have been asked for?

Question is very direct and specific about the effect of increased in the supply of natural gas on makers of plastic.

Option A: To discourage people from using plastic products, many countries have started levying heavy taxes on the plastic industry as a measure to increase the cost of production and the resultant price of plastic products.

This one speaks about the applying high taxes on plastic industry. So makers can still add another component in the retail price of the plastic bags, toys and containers in order to compensate the high tax they paid to government. This option however does not relate the effect of increase in production of natural gas to their profits.
Moreover, this option gives another incentive to makers of plastic to increase the prices of plastic items which can or cannot increase its profit margin.

On the other hand Option C hits the middle man.

C: The makers of polyethylene have increased their profit margins and hence are not passing on lower cost benefits to their customers.

Natural gas --> polyethylene -> plastic items.
Increase in production of natural gas means more polyethylene , more polyethylene means more plastic items.

but what if the polyethylene is still selling at the usual price - makers of plastic can not increase their profit on their usual price.

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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 07:27
The answer is C.

The line of reasoning goes
1. The maker of Polyethylene is making profit margins means they are charging more for the same polyethylene than they were charging before when the production was low.
2. the makers of plastic products are the customers to the makers of polyethylene(who are getting polyethylene as a by product of natural gas extraction).

since the makers of plastic products have to bear the extra cost( due to the profit margins of polyethylene makers ) they are not able to reduce the cost despite the availability of polyethylene in large amount.

Do not get confused by the word "customer" it is used for maker of plastic products and not for user of plastic products.

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As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2017, 13:19
I think the confusion on this one, at least for me, was that the drillers who extract the polyethylene out of the ground are called "makers" (Oil and gas drillers don't make anything, they aren't manufacturers, they extract resources). Thus, I got them confused with the makers of plastic products and wrongly eliminated C.
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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 02:51
one simple reason to eliminate option (A).

Premise states that US increased natural gas production.

Option (A) says many countries..... but is US included in many countries? May be or May be not. sufficient room for ambuiguity

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Re: As the US increased the production of natural gas   [#permalink] 07 Nov 2017, 02:51
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