## #7 - In Western economies, more energy is used to operate

rachue
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Can someone please explain why D is incorrect? If 50-100 years from now energy inefficiencies wills ave more than \$200 billion per year, doesn't that necessarily mean that the energy bills will be \$200 billion lower, too, in the next 50-100 years? I understand that the bills could be lower for other reasons (people use less energy, doesn't cost as much for some reason, etc)... but I still don't get why D is wrong.
Steve Stein
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Thanks for your question--savings can be a tricky concept.Currently, we are told, the referenced efficiencies save us several billion dollars per year. That means that we might save billions each year. But that doesn’t mean that we can expect to increase our annual level of savings by several billion dollars each and every year.

Let me know if that makes sense--thanks!
Steve Stein
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rachue
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That helps some but I'm still not completely getting it. Could you please use some hypothetical numbers so I can see it another way with an example?
Steve Stein
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Let's say our new Civic saves you \$100 per year in gas. Over the next five years we might expect to see \$500 in total savings; but that doesn't mean that we can expect to start saving \$500 per year.

Let me know if that makes sense--thanks!
Steve Stein
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rachue
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That still doesn't make sense to me because the stimulus didn't indicate that the amount in savings would increase with each year; it uses the same figure (\$200 billion savings per year in the next 50-100 years, thus \$200 billion savings in 50-100 years). I don't see how it follows with your example... I'm sorry, I'm just really having a hard time getting this.
Steve Stein
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Thanks for your message. I think there are a couple of issues here: first, regarding the tricky concept of savings, the following comes from the explanation of answer choice (D) in the book:

The argument is specific about saving more than \$200 billion per year; the author does not assume that the total bill the next 50 to 100 years will be lower by \$200 billion.

…in this context, you cannot make the assumption that energy bills themselves will be lower by \$200 billion in the next 50 to 100 years. They could easily save more than \$200 billion in the future, and still have energy bills that are significantly higher than they are currently.

On another note, your initial question basically began with “If the author’s conclusion is valid, can’t we further conclude the following?...”

Keep in mind that this is an Assumption question, which means that the correct answer choice should provide information that the author’s conclusion requires, rather than further conclusions that can be drawn based on the author’s conclusion.
Steve Stein
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kristinaroz93
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"The argument is specific about saving more than \$200 billion per year; the author does not assume that the total bill the next 50 to 100 years will be lower by \$200 billion."

"…in this context, you cannot make the assumption that energy bills themselves will be lower by \$200 billion in the next 50 to 100 years. They could easily save more than \$200 billion in the future, and still have energy bills that are significantly higher than they are currently."

I don't understand how this would work at all.This answer choice is just not sticking with me=/

Maybe more hypothticals or further insight into the problem would be helpful =)

David Boyle
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kristinaroz93 wrote:"The argument is specific about saving more than \$200 billion per year; the author does not assume that the total bill the next 50 to 100 years will be lower by \$200 billion."

"…in this context, you cannot make the assumption that energy bills themselves will be lower by \$200 billion in the next 50 to 100 years. They could easily save more than \$200 billion in the future, and still have energy bills that are significantly higher than they are currently."

I don't understand how this would work at all.This answer choice is just not sticking with me=/

Maybe more hypothticals or further insight into the problem would be helpful =)

Hello kristinaroz93,

Even if \$200 billion is saved, what if the total bill went up by \$3 trillion? Then the bill wouldn't be down by \$200 billion, it'd be up by \$2.8 trillion, if you do the math (\$3 trillion - \$200 billion = \$2.8 trillion).
An example with smaller numbers is, if I have a coupon for \$5 off a pizza, but I wait a year to use it, that doesn't mean that I'll be paying \$5 less than I would normally. E.g., what if the price of the pizza goes up by \$6 over a year? So, when I buy the pizza, I do save \$5, but I have to pay \$6 more than I used to, so the total isn't \$5 lower, it's \$1 higher, due to the \$6 price increase--even though I used the \$5 coupon.

Hope this helps,
David
LAM

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I too got stuck on this. I have been right on much harder assumption questions, but this one threw me for a loop. That analogy helped David. For some stupid reason, I was thinking 'technologies' couldn't become more expensive, which is why I didn't choose A. I eventually grasped the savings concept by asking myself, how are they comparing the savings? What's the benchmark they use to compare savings? Maybe the bills in the future are astronomical but 'savings' is the price in the future compared to some standard today? We don't know how the savings are even being calculated. So, answer A seems so obvious now. Why I didn't think that technology costs could go up is stupid; I probably was drawing from my bias that technology is always more lean, cost-efficient etc.
Robert Carroll
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LAM,

You definitely don't want to let those biases affect your interpretation of the stimulus and the answer choices! Answer choice (A) is a Defender assumption - it's the negation of a weakness. Although energy efficiency in buildings has reduced energy bills so far, we don't know that it will continue the same way. What if the only technologies discovered in the future to make buildings more efficient involve such a large up-front cost that no one pays them? Then the reduction in bills might not continue. Thus, you must assume that no such increase in the cost of technology occurs (the negation of a weakness). If it did occur (the negation of answer choice (A)), then the argument would be undermined - and this proves answer choice (A) via the Assumption Negation Technique.

Robert Carroll