Delta Products Inc. has recently switched at least partly

Question

Delta Products Inc. has recently switched at least partly from older technologies using fossil fuels to new technologies powered by electricity. The question has been raised whether it can be concluded that for a given level of output Delta’s operation now causes less fossil fuel to be consumed than it did formerly. The answer, clearly, is yes, since the amount of fossil fuel used to generate the electricity needed to power the new technologies is less than the amount needed to power the older technologies, provided level of output is held constant.

In the argument given, the two boldfaced portions play which of the following roles?

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Understand the Passage

Delta Products Inc. has recently switched at least partly from older technologies using fossil fuels to new technologies powered by electricity.

A company, Delta Products Inc., has partly switched from older technologies (which used fossil fuels) to new technologies (which use electricity).

The question has been raised whether it can be concluded that for a given level of output Delta’s operation now causes less fossil fuel to be consumed than it did formerly.

A question has been raised. The question is whether the company consumes less fossil fuel now than it did before, for the same level of output. (Here, you should take a pause and understand why such a question might be raised. The new technologies run on electricity. Then, why are we talking about fossil fuel consumption now? The underlying assumption/reasoning is that the production of electricity requires fossil fuels. So, even though the new technologies run on electricity, they also consume fossil fuel indirectly. Now, the question is whether new technologies consume less fossil fuels than older technologies.)

The answer, clearly, is yes

This part is the conclusion of the argument since the following statement supports this statement. The earlier two statements set the background for this conclusion. Of course, this statement makes sense only within the context of the previous statement. Without knowing what the question is, saying ‘the answer is yes’ will not make sense. In a way, the conclusion is that for a given level of output, Delta’s operation now causes less fossil fuel to be consumed than it did formerly.

since the amount of fossil fuel used to generate the electricity needed to power the new technologies is less than the amount needed to power the older technologies, provided level of output is held constant.

This statement supports the conclusion (the reasoning indicator ‘since’ also suggests the same). It says that for a given level of output, the amount of fossil fuel needed to generate electricity to power new technologies is than the amount of fossil fuels needed to power the older technologies.

Predict an Answer

From the passage understanding above, we can note that BF1 is a fact and provides background to the argument. BF2 is an area on which a question has been raised, and the main conclusion of the argument agrees with BF2 (Rather, in a way, BF2 is the conclusion of the argument).

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. Both the first and the second parts of this option are wrong.

BF1 does not identify the content of the conclusion. It is just background information for the argument.

BF2 does not provide support for BF1. Rather, BF1 is not supported by anything in the argument. Also, BF2 doesn’t even support the conclusion of the argument. BF2 itself, in a way, is the conclusion of the argument.

(B) Correct. Both parts of this option are correct.

BF1 provides background information for the conclusion. In a way that the conclusion will not make sense without this background information, we can say that BF1 supports the conclusion.

BF2 is indeed the content of the conclusion. The conclusion is ‘the answer is yes’. However, what ‘the answer is yes’ means is given in BF2.

(C) Incorrect. Both the first and the second parts of this option are wrong.

BF1 is not the conclusion of the argument. BF2 doesn’t call BF1 into question. BF2 rather itself is equivalent to the conclusion of the argument.

(D) Incorrect. The first part of this option is correct, but the second part is incorrect.

The first part of this option is same as the first part of option B and is thus correct for the same reason mentioned in the analysis of option B.

Since BF2 doesn’t call the conclusion of the argument into question, the second part is incorrect.

(E) Incorrect. While BF1 does provide support for the conclusion of the argument (as explained in the analysis of option B), BF2 does not. Rather, BF2 is equivalent to the conclusion of the argument.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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