GMAT – Analytical Writing Sample Questions 5

Question #5

5a. Briefly explain whether or not the following argument is a sound and well-founded argument: “Gas prices throughout the United States have been steadily increasing in recent years due solely to rising overseas oil costs. This can be seen because as the price of oil increases, the price of gas has been increasing proportionally. For example, the average cost for a barrel of crude oil in 2004 was 36.98 a barrel and the average cost of gasoline was $1.85 a gallon.

However, during 2005, the average cost for a barrel of crude oil rose to $50.23 a barrel and the average cost for a gallon of gasoline rose to $2.27. Since our economy relies on gasoline for a variety of purposes, we can expect the steady rise of gasoline costs to have an equally profound impact on every individual business within every industry.”

5b. There are several flaws in this particular argument, but overall the basic idea of the argument is well-founded. The price of oil is a major factor when it comes to determining the price of gasoline and most businesses and virtually every private citizen uses gasoline to some degree in their day-to-day lives. As a result, most businesses and therefore the economy as a whole can be greatly affected by rising gasoline costs. Even though this particular argument is attempting to state certain ideas that are incorrect or unfounded, such as the cost of gasoline affecting each individual business equally and the cost of gasoline rising solely due to rising oil costs, the fundamental concepts that the argument is attempting to establish are realistic and defended by the examples presented.

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