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QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot

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QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2018, 11:55
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 205: Critical Reasoning


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Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the total dollar amount spent on trips for pleasure by residents of the United States in 1997, and about half of the total dollar amount spent on the transportation was airfare. However, the large majority of United States residents who took trips for pleasure in 1997 did not travel by airplane but used other means of transportation.

If the statements above are true, which of the following must also be true about United States residents who took trips for pleasure in 1997?

(A) Most of those who traveled by airplane did so because the airfare to their destination was lower than the cost of other available means of transportation.

(B) Most of those who traveled by airplane did so because other means of transportation to their destinations were unavailable.

(C) Per mile traveled, those who traveled by airplane tended to spend more on transportation to their destination than did those who used other means of transportation.

(D) Overall, people who did not travel by airplane had lower average transportation expenses than people who did.

(E) Those who traveled by airplane spent about as much, on average, on other means of transportation as they did on airfare.

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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jan 2018, 14:56
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This is an inference question, and we don't have a nice conclusion to use as a starting point. Instead, let's make sure we clearly understand the given information, paying attention to little details and modifiers as we go:

  • "Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the total dollar amount spent on trips for pleasure by residents of the United States in 1997." This statement has lots of important details, so don't skim over them. TE accounted for a LARGE portion, but we don't know how large. We cannot say that TE accounted for the LARGEST portion or even for MOST of the total. Also, keep in mind that we are only talking about trips for pleasure by US residents.
  • "About half of the total dollar amount spent on the transportation was airfare." So of the TE described above, about half of it was spent on airfare. The other half comprised other transportation expenses (perhaps cars/fuel, buses, trains, etc).
  • "The large majority of US residents who took trips for pleasure in 1997 did not travel by airplane but used other means of transportation." - There is no numerical cutoff for a "large" majority but if the numbers were close (i.e. a 49%-51% split), it would make more sense to call it a "slim" majority. For example, if 499 people like Coke and 501 like Pepsi, then most people like Pepsi and the majority of people like Pepsi. But does a large majority prefer Pepsi? Not in this case because the difference is very small. If 800 people like Coke and 200 like Pepsi, then we could say that the large majority of people surveyed like Coke. Again, there really isn't any absolute rule for the numerical cutoff, but if we want to use "large majority", there should be a significant difference. So this statement tells us that a lot more people did NOT travel by airplane but used other means of transportation.

If the statements above are true, which of the following must also be true about United States residents who took trips for pleasure in 1997?

Quote:
A) Most of those who traveled by airplane did so because the airfare to their destination was lower than the cost of other available means of transportation.

The passage doesn't say anything about WHY people chose air travel or other means of transportation. In fact, the numbers seem to suggest that those who traveled by airplane had HIGHER average TE than people who did not travel by airplane. Flying may have been the more expensive option, but people may have chosen it because, for example, it was much faster, more convenient, more comfortable, etc. Choice (A) can be eliminated.

Quote:
B) Most of those who traveled by airplane did so because other means of transportation to their destinations were unavailable.

Again, the passage doesn't say anything about WHY people chose certain means of transportation. It is certainly possible that several modes of transportation were available and people chose to fly for a variety of reasons (speed, convenience, comfort, etc). Choice (B) is not necessarily true and can be eliminated.

Quote:
C) Per mile traveled, those who traveled by airplane tended to spend more on transportation to their destination than did those who used other means of transportation.

The problem with choice (C) is the "per mile traveled" part. Those who traveled by airplane may have spent more IN TOTAL on transportation than did those who used other means of transportation, but that does not necessarily mean they spent more PER MILE. For example, those who chose to fly may have traveled thousands of miles on average to reach their destinations while those who did not fly may have traveled only tens or hundreds of miles on average. We cannot infer that this is true, so eliminate (C).


Quote:
D) Overall, people who did not travel by airplane had lower average transportation expenses than people who did.

About half of the TE was spent on airfare and about half of the TE was spent on other transportation costs (i.e. cars/fuel, buses, trains, etc.). But a LARGE MAJORITY of the people who took trips for pleasure did NOT travel by airplane. How could this be true?

We are told that the amount spent on airfare was about the same as the amount spent on other transportation costs. So picture two equal bars on a bar graph. If the number of people traveling by airplane was about the same as the number of people using other means of transportation, then we would divide the bars by roughly the same number to get the average TE for both groups. But we know that the number of people who did NOT travel by plane was much higher than the number who did travel by plane (the large majority did not travel by airplane). That means we have to divide the non-airfare bar by a much HIGHER number than the airfare bar to get the average TE for each group. That means that the average TE would be much higher for the airfare group (because we divided by a smaller number). Choice (D) has to be true, so keep this one.

Quote:
E) Those who traveled by airplane spent about as much, on average, on other means of transportation as they did on airfare.

The amount that those who traveled by airplane spent on other means of transportation (i.e. rental cars, etc.) may have only been a small fraction of what they spent on airfare. Most of the non-airfare TE were likely incurred by the large majority who did NOT travel by airplane. Choice (E) does not have to be true and can be eliminated.

Choice (D) is the only one that has to be true.
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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2018, 08:41
after analysis the argument we get
Nut shell:dollar spent more though less residents traveled
prethink : something that justifies this :cost of air transport is more than the cost of others
analysis the answers
D does the trick
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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2018, 14:51
Assumption ‘less x higher + manyx lower’. [in this equation, only more is confirmed, rest 3 parameters are not. Also, less x higher = many x lower]

A. Airfare lower -> More Flight users
B. We are not discussing why they used air travel
C. Only More is provided. C converts the assumption to ‘less x higher + many x lower’. We still do not know the number of people traveled. Again 'less' is our assumption, this is a trap
D. Satisfies many x lower
E. This only talks about people who took airplanes, what about others

‘D’ restates the Reasoning (inference question) – other transportation had lower average expenses and fits the many x lower value
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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2018, 23:36
Hi GMATNinja

While explaining (D) you wrote:

Quote:
We are told that the amount spent on airfare was about the same as the amount spent on other transportation costs. So picture two equal bars on a bar graph.


If I interpret correctly, the two equal bar graphs are TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS each for
(a) airfare in case 1 and (2) non air-fare in case 2.


Now Option (E) says:
Quote:
Those who traveled by airplane spent about as much, on average, on other means of transportation as they did on airfare.


Do not highlighted statement and option (E) mean the same? What is interpretation of ON AVERAGE in option (E)?
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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2018, 13:25
adkikani wrote:
Hi GMATNinja

While explaining (D) you wrote:

Quote:
We are told that the amount spent on airfare was about the same as the amount spent on other transportation costs. So picture two equal bars on a bar graph.


If I interpret correctly, the two equal bar graphs are TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS each for
(a) airfare in case 1 and (2) non air-fare in case 2.


Now Option (E) says:
Quote:
Those who traveled by airplane spent about as much, on average, on other means of transportation as they did on airfare.


Do not highlighted statement and option (E) mean the same? What is interpretation of ON AVERAGE in option (E)?

The highlighted portion of your explanation is accurate. If we add up the TOTAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS, about half of that total would be airfare and the other half would be other transportation expenses (not airfare).

But choice (E) doesn't quite say that. Pay particular attention to the underlined portion: "Those who traveled by airplane spent about as much, on average, on other means of transportation as they did on airfare." This means that we are only looking at people who traveled by airplane. Now we could add up the total amount that those people spent on their airfare and divide the total by the number of people to get the AVERAGE amount spent on airfare by those people. For example, if there were 200 people who traveled by airplane and they spent a total of $100,000 on airfare, then the amount spent on airfare by those people was $500 ON AVERAGE.

According to choice (E), the average amount that those people spent on airfare was about the same as the average amount that those people spent on other modes of transportation (i.e. buses, trains, taxis, etc.). This could be true, but we don't know for sure based on the information in the passage. For example, it is just as likely that those people spent much less, on average, on OTHER modes of transportation. Perhaps they spent $500 on average for airfare and only $100 on average for buses, trains, etc.

I hope that helps!
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Re: QOTD: Transportation expenses accounted for a large portion of the tot   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2018, 13:25
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