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# The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest

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Senior Manager
Joined: 08 Jul 2004
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The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 04 Jun 2018, 06:04
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78% (01:49) correct 22% (02:01) wrong based on 1077 sessions

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The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is restricted by law. New coal-burning plants usually comply with the law by installing expensive equipment to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions. These new plants could save money by installing instead less expensive cleaning equipment that chemically removes most sulfur from coal before combustion.

Which of the following, if known, would be most relevant to evaluating the claim above about how new coal-burning plants could save money?

(A) Whether existing oil-burning plants are required to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions

(B) Whether the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in a new plant is less than the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in an older plant

(C) Whether the process of cleaning the coal is more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions

(D) Whether lawful emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-burning plants are damaging the environment

(E) Whether existing plants that use the filtering equipment could replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment and still compete with new plants that install the cleaning equipment

Originally posted by saurya_s on 25 Jul 2005, 15:56.
Last edited by hazelnut on 04 Jun 2018, 06:04, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2013, 14:31
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asquare04120 wrote:
hi,

why can not we have option B as our answer? please explain in detail.

Thanks

Hi asquare04120

Welcome to GMAT club!

GENERAL METHOD

This is “evaluate the argument”, one of the most difficult type of CR questions. To attack this question:
- First, determine the conclusion is KEY. If you do not know what the argument wants to conclude. How can you evaluate its argument?
- Next, you can use general methods to eliminate wrong answers (out of scope, reverse answer, …)
- When you narrow to TWO options and don’t know which one is correct, you can apply “variance method”.

How to use this strategy? The answer choices always have the question “whether X can help Y……?”, for instance. Just plug in “yes”, or “no” to the question. For example: X can help Y…., and X cannot help Y….. If the two answers (Yes & No) make the author changes his/her conclusion. This option choice is correct.

ANALYZE THE STIMULUS:

Fact: New coal-burning plants usually comply with the law by installing expensive equipment to
filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions.
Fact: installing cleaning equipment that chemically removes most sulfur from coal before combustion is less expensive.
Conclusion: These new plants could save money by installing cleaning equipment.

Pre-thinking: Are there any cost other than “equipment cost”? For example: administration cost, labor cost, maintenance cost, etc… We should calculate TOTAL COST to make a final conclusion.

A. Whether existing oil-burning plants are required to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions
Wrong. Nothing about “costs”. Out immediately.

B. Whether the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in a new plant is less than the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in an older plant
Wrong. We are comparing expense of “cleaning equipment” vs “filtering equipment”. B only compares expense of installing “cleaning equipment” in new plan and old plan. It does not help you to compare expense between two options “cleaning equipment” vs “filtering equipment”. Hence, B is wrong.

C. Whether the process of cleaning the coal is more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions
Correct.
If “YES”. the process of cleaning the coal is more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions ==> the new plants could not save money by installing cleaning equipment.
If “NO”. the process of cleaning the coal is NOT more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions ==> the new plants could save money by installing cleaning equipment.
Thus, C definitely can help to “evaluate” the conclusion. Hence, C is correct.

D. Whether lawful emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-burning plants are damaging the environment
Wrong. Nothing about “costs”. Out immediately.

E. Whether existing plants that use the filtering equipment could replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment and still compete with new plants that install the cleaning equipment
Wrong. TEMPTING but wrong.
If “Yes”. Existing plants that use the filtering equipment COULD replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment .......... Okay, existing plants can replace their equipment with cleaning equipment. How can we compare between “cleaning equipment” and “filter equipment”, which one is cheaper?
If “No”. Existing plants that use the filtering equipment COULD NOT replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment….. Okay, existing plants cannot replace their equipment with cleaning equipment, they still use filtering equipment. How can we compare between “cleaning equipment” and “filter equipment”, which one is cheaper?
Clearly, E just says the existing plants can or cannot replace the filtering equipment with cleaning equipment. That's it. E does not help anything to “evaluate” which one could help to save money. Hence, E is wrong

Hope it helps.
##### General Discussion
Senior Manager
Joined: 11 Mar 2005
Posts: 314
Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2005, 16:09
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C it is.

We know about the cost of the equipment, but we dont know about the cost of the process.

It is like a printer, I can buy a cheap printer whose printing cost is more than the expensive printer whose printing cost is cheap.
Senior Manager
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Posts: 353
Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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29 Jul 2005, 04:09
(C).

Clean before buring coal is more (or less) expensive than filter after burning coal? If i know which is cheaper (or more expensive), then i can decide if i will save money or not by whichever of the 2 processes i use.
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Joined: 14 Jul 2013
Posts: 5
Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2013, 02:33
hi,

why can not we have option B as our answer? please explain in detail.

Thanks
Intern
Joined: 15 May 2015
Posts: 1
Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2015, 14:09
My process step by step

1) read the entire passage carefully. This takes time, but saves you more valuable time later because you won't have to re-read question or answer options out of confusion.
2) understand what the stem asks: what do you need to evaluate the claim: how new coal-burning plants could save money?
Then, WHAT is the claim in your own words
- claim is: comparison of costs and savings between 2 different processes. You must compare both processes because how can you determine how the new coal-burning plants could save money if you have nothing to compare it to?
3) go through each answer option, and mark on your paper (notes are key, all the questions I ever get absolutely wrong are ones where I have no notes)

a) irrelevant - because points to law
b) cost, yes --> installing costs are compared, irrelevant because 1) new plant has been installed, and 2) question stem asks: how new coal-burning plants could save money, i.e. inference is that since it is in existence, so installation is irrelevant. Answer is C:
c) cost, yes --> CORRECT because we are comparing costs between the two different processes
d) irrelevant - because points to law & environment
e) irrelevant - because about competition
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Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2015, 22:54
saurya_s wrote:
The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is restricted by law. New coal-burning plants usually comply with the law by installing expensive equipment to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions. These new plants could save money by installing instead less expensive cleaning equipment that chemically removes most sulphur from coal before combustion.

Which of the following, if known, would be most relevant to evaluating the claim above about how new coal-burning plants could save money?

A. Whether existing oil-burning plants are required to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions
Oil Burning? Making wrong comparision

B. Whether the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in a new plant is less than the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in an older plant
Making com-parision between new and older plants, while question is all about NEW PLANTS

C. Whether the process of cleaning the coal is more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions
talks about cost in process and compares right points, strong enough

D. Whether lawful emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-burning plants are damaging the environment

E. Whether existing plants that use the filtering equipment could replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment and still compete with new plants that install the cleaning equipment
this options involves cleaning process in new plants, but it compares yield of new and old plants, which is completely out of context
Senior Manager
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Posts: 423
Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2018, 09:25
saurya_s wrote:
The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is restricted by law. New coal-burning plants usually comply with the law by installing expensive equipment to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions. These new plants could save money by installing instead less expensive cleaning equipment that chemically removes most sulfur from coal before combustion.

Which of the following, if known, would be most relevant to evaluating the claim above about how new coal-burning plants could save money?

(A) Whether existing oil-burning plants are required to filter sulfur dioxide from their emissions

(B) Whether the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in a new plant is less than the expense of installing the cleaning equipment in an older plant

(C) Whether the process of cleaning the coal is more expensive than the process of filtering the emissions

(D) Whether lawful emissions of sulfur dioxide from coal-burning plants are damaging the environment

(E) Whether existing plants that use the filtering equipment could replace this equipment with the cleaning equipment and still compete with new plants that install the cleaning equipment

Only two options are strong contenders: B and C.

The entire argument is about new plants. (If you thought otherwise, read it again.)

Entire argument is about "New Plant" but choice B is about doing something in new plants vs. doing something in older plants. We don't care about older plants at all, so, a fortiori, we don't care about any comparison between older and newer plants either.-- Thanks to RON PUREWAL
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Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest  [#permalink]

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04 Oct 2019, 22:48
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Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: The emission of sulfur dioxide when high-sulfur coal is burned is rest   [#permalink] 04 Oct 2019, 22:48
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