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# Over the last five years, technological improvements have

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Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 10:47
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Over the last five years, technological improvements have significantly reduced the cost of manufacturing and operating electric-powered cars. Nevertheless, the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged.

Which of the following, if true, would do the most to explain why electric cars have become cheaper to operate but break-even point between electric and gas cars has not changed?

(A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years.
(B) Electric-car manufacturers have managed to reduce production costs despite an increase in some raw material prices.
(C) Improvements in aerodynamics have made regular gas-powered cars more efficient to operate.
(D) Relative to the number of gas-powered cars, there are very few electric cars on the road today.
(E) When the price of gasoline rises, more people are willing to take public transportation to work.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by mojorising800 on 22 Jan 2010, 00:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 12:33
I would go with answer A.

By Power of Elimination C,D & E can be eliminated since they are irrelevant.
B does not support the argument.

The operating cost of electric cars is lesser compared to gasoline cars, however if the prices of gasoline has decreased in last five year, it would create a break-even point between the two types of cars.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 13:31
mojorising800 wrote:
Over the last five years, technological improvements have significantly reduced the cost of manufacturing and operating electric-powered cars. Nevertheless, the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged.

Which of the following, if true, would do the most to explain why electric cars have become cheaper to operate but break-even point between electric and gas cars has not changed?

A.The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years.
B.Electric-car manufacturers have managed to reduce production costs despite an increase in some raw material prices.
C.Improvements in aerodynamics have made regular gas-powered cars more efficient to operate.
D.Relative to the number of gas-powered cars, there are very few electric cars on the road today.
E.When the price of gasoline rises, more people are willing to take public transportation to work.

My take is C. Even though electric cars became cheaper and easily accessible, why don't they out-beat gasoline cars is the question at hand. Because, gasoline cars as well are operating efficiently is a good reason why gasoline cars haven't lost their market completely to electric cars.
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 13:56
A once you grasp what the question is asking this is pretty easy
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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21 Jan 2010, 16:41
My vote is to A also.
Because keyword is "break-even".

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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22 Jan 2010, 05:05
My take is A
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2010, 11:40
Hey all,

Looks like a lot of you were heading in the wrong direction on this one, so I thought I'd weigh in. It's really important to pay attention to the exact wording of the conclusion here. "The cost per gallon at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged." That cost per gallon is a theoretical number that the price of gasoline would need to reach before operating an electric car would become more economical than operating a gas powered car. The ACTUAL price per gallon of gasoline cannot affect that theoretical number. If I tell you that electric cars won't be more efficient than gas powered ones until gas costs ten bucks a gallon, the fact that gas maybe went down to four bucks a gallon does nothing to EXPLAIN why gas needs to cost ten bucks a gallon. This means that A cannot be the answer.

The answer must be C. This is because if gas-powered cars have become more gas-efficient, that would move the theoretical cost per gallon price upwards (in other words, now that gas-powered cars are more efficient, electric cars have to be EVEN MORE efficient to be economical).

Hope that helps!

Tommy
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2010, 12:34
Thanks Tommy but that was over my head.
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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23 Jan 2010, 12:47
Let me try to put it more clearly.

The question tells us that there is some theoretical cost per gallon of gasoline (presumably quite high) at which it will finally be more economical to drive an electric car than a gas-powered one. Let's call that cost X. The question wants to know how it is that even though electric cars have become cheaper to operate (think of that as the cost of electricity), that value X has not changed.

Answer choice A merely tells us that gas, in the real world, has gotten cheaper. That's great. But it doesn't explain why that theoretical cost X hasn't changed. The only thing that could explain that would be that even though electric cars have gotten more efficient, so have gas-powered cars.

Hopefully that was clearer!

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2010, 22:09
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Over the last five years, technological improvements have significantly reduced the cost of manufacturing and operating electric-powered cars. Nevertheless, the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged.

Which of the following, if true, would do the most to explain why electric cars have become cheaper to operate but break-even point between electric and gas cars has not changed?

(A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years.
(B) Electric-car manufacturers have managed to reduce production costs despite an increase in some raw material prices.
(C) Improvements in aerodynamics have made regular gas-powered cars more efficient to operate.
(D) Relative to the number of gas-powered cars, there are very few electric cars on the road today.
(E) When the price of gasoline rises, more people are willing to take public transportation to work.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
This is a question from Kaplan Online CAT. I somehow am not convinced with the OA. Any help or explanation for OA would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 00:37
C it is.

The argument:

Electric car: cost of manufacturing and Operate is cheaper
The Price different of gas per gallon between Electric car and Gas car still the same.

Basically, since electric car now cheaper to operate we expect the different in gas price to be reduced. But what if Gas car also cheaper to operate? Then ofcourse both are better, both are cheaper by the same amount then there is no reason for the different in gas price to change.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 01:25
gautrang wrote:
C it is.

The argument:

Electric car: cost of manufacturing and Operate is cheaper
The Price different of gas per gallon between Electric car and Gas car still the same.

Basically, since electric car now cheaper to operate we expect the different in gas price to be reduced. But what if Gas car also cheaper to operate? Then ofcourse both are better, both are cheaper by the same amount then there is no reason for the different in gas price to change.

I would say that the option A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years. provides much stronger evidence to suggest that the Gas Car has become cheaper to operate with the fall in price of gasoline. I would love to know how did you eliminate this option.
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 03:49
arundas wrote:

I would say that the option A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years. provides much stronger evidence to suggest that the Gas Car has become cheaper to operate with the fall in price of gasoline. I would love to know how did you eliminate this option.

A is incorrect because the premise said: "Nevertheless, the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged."

The cost of gasoline remained unchanged. If according to A, the price of gas dropped, surely this cost should have dropped as well. A contradicts the premise.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 05:33
you need to show the cost per gallon of gasoline has not changed, this can be done by

a) show that gasoline cars have gotten more efficient.
b) electric cars consume more electricity and the electricity comes from gas powered stations

A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years. <of no use>
B) Electric-car manufacturers have managed to reduce production costs despite an increase in some raw material prices. <does not help explain why cost per gallon of gasoline is the same? >
C) Improvements in aerodynamics have made regular gas-powered cars more efficient to operate.<bingo>
D) Relative to the number of gas-powered cars, there are very few electric cars on the road today. <does it matter>
E)When the price of gasoline rises, more people are willing to take public transportation to work.<does it matter>

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2010, 13:38
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Hi Folks,

Let's apply the Kaplan method here.

Step 1: Identify the Question Type. The word 'explain' gives it away--this is an Explain question. That means that we are not dealing with an argument--there is no evidence, assumption, or conclusion. Rather, we have two facts that appear to contradict--and that's what we'll look for.

Step 2: Untangle the Stimulus. This is a tricky prompt, and there seems to be some trouble understanding it. The prompt references "the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered". And this point has nothing do do with the actual price of gas!

Although picking numbers is usually a math strategy, it can also be useful in situations like this to illustrate a complex stimulus. In this case, let's imagine that an electric car costs \$5000 more than a gas car. And let's imagine that the electric burns 1000 gallons less fuel over its lifetime.

If gas costs \$5/gallon, then these to cars are a financial wash. The \$5000 you spent on the electric car is exactly canceled by the \$5 * 1000 dollars you save on gasoline. On the other hand, gas at \$4 means you lose money on an electric car, and gas at \$6 means you save money with an electric car. In other words, the actual value of gas is completely irrelevant to the prompt itself--we're talking about a hypothetical price that tells us which car is more efficient!

So now that we've decoded the prompt, we can paraphrase it--or, specifically, paraphrase the contradiction. In this case, we know two things: that electric cars have improved in an absolute sense, but that price point remains the same. Thus, our paraphrase is

"The efficiency of electric cars has improved in absolute terms, but it hasn't improved relative to gas-powered cars."

Once we've boiled it down to these terms, the answer should jump out at us. How could electric cars improve in efficiency, but still not be better than gas cars? The gas cars must be getting better too!

Step 4: Evaluate the answer choices.

So now we know what we're looking for: something that shows how gas-powered cars are becoming more efficient. With that prediction in mind, (C) stands out as the best match and the correct answer.
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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17 Aug 2010, 14:39
KapTeacherEli
Does this look like a valid explanation? Visualizing the costs

Case A

--------Gas car uses 2 gallons per mile of gas

---------Electric car uses 1 gallon per mile of gas

Break even = the rise (cost per gallon) of gasoline prices at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car

Case B

Electric car improves and becomes more fuel efficient 1 to 0.5 gallon / mile

--------Gas car uses 1.5 gallon per mile of gas ---> To keep the difference constant

---------Electric car uses 0.5 gallons per mile of gas

Basically : Two numbers - keep the difference constant - if one rises the other will rise. One falls the other will fall.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2010, 00:36
Good explanation by Kaplan Teacher Eli. Kudos to you !!

I choose C, but I went the other way. Let me know, If I am incorrect.
We are looking for Cost per gallon of Gasoline. If everything is compared taking base as Gasoline, then change in Gasoline price will affect the cost of both equally. So , its ONLY the efficiency of cars that is going to creat a difference.

Moreover, I just got a catch of Manhattan SC Guide, that Economical : Thrifty, Efficient. Had it been Economic, the scenario would have been different. (Dont know how far this fact helps to solve the problem )
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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2010, 02:29
C IT IS

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2010, 11:01
we are comapring two cars here:
electric cars and regular fuel cars....
question : cost to run and maintain electric cars has gone down == but breakeven has point has not changed ..
it can only happen if regualr fuel cars have improved .... hence c

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2010, 06:43
C it is

arundas wrote:
Over the last five years, technological improvements have significantly reduced the cost of manufacturing and operating electric-powered cars. Nevertheless, the cost per gallon of gasoline at which it would become more economical to operate an electric car than a regular gas-powered car has remained unchanged.

Which of the following, if true, would do the most to explain why electric cars have become cheaper to operate but break-even point between electric and gas cars has not changed?

A) The price per gallon of gasoline has dropped by 25% over the last five years. - This is applicable to both types of cars. Hence, N/A.
B) Electric-car manufacturers have managed to reduce production costs despite an increase in some raw material prices. - N/A
C) Improvements in aerodynamics have made regular gas-powered cars more efficient to operate.- Yes. Correct. Although the electric cars have become cheaper to operate, they still cannot compete with the regular cars economically, as the regular cars have become more fuel efficient.
D) Relative to the number of gas-powered cars, there are very few electric cars on the road today.-N/A
E)When the price of gasoline rises, more people are willing to take public transportation to work. - N/A

This is a question from Kaplan Online CAT. I somehow am not convinced with the OA. Any help or explanation for OA would be greatly appreciated.

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Re: Over the last five years, technological improvements have   [#permalink] 30 Aug 2010, 06:43

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