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This is a Method of Reasoning—Argument Part question, meaning we're asked to identify the precise role that a specified piece plays in the argument. Fortunately, and as I've noted previously for Main Point questions, if you're analyzing the stimulus correctly you should already know how each item fits into the argument's grand scheme, and essentially have this answered before you reach the question stem.
The component in question is the second sentence: due to increased fuel needs, transportation on semiplaning monohulls will be much more expensive than on conventional ships.
Out of context this sounds like a strong critique of the new ship type, however when considered with the rest of the stimulus we quickly see that the author raises this point not as a protest, but as an anticipated objection he or she is prepared to rebut. And while we'll certainly examine the rest of the stimulus, simply recognizing that characterization—the sentence in question is a potential criticism that the author raises in order to defend against it—is sufficient to select the right answer. Gotta love that.
So how exactly does the author defend against the increased fuel costs smear? By comparing the evolution of air travel to a possible advancement in travel by ship: at first jets were more expensive to use than other planes, but the appeal of greater speed and reliability (advantages we're told semiplaning monohulls offer over traditional ships) made jets attract enough to customers to be profitable.
Conclusion? Semiplaning monohulls will probably be profitable as well.
Answer choice (A): The sentence being addressed is not one of two analogies (there seems to be only one analogy, that between the change in the airline industry and a potential change in the ship industry; the only duality here is that semiplaning monohulls and jets apparently share two common features: speed and reliability), and certainly is not offered to support the argument's main conclusion. Indeed it would weaken the argument's conclusion concerning profitability if the author didn't make an effort to invalidate it.
Answer choice (B): At no point does the argument make an analogy (attempt to persuade by comparing two presumably similar things) between semiplaning monohulls and traditional ships. The only analogy in the argument is between air and marine travel, specifically concerning semiplaning monohulls and jets.
Answer choice (C): Again, noting that transportation costs will be greater on semiplaning monohulls than on traditional ships in NO way "provides support" for the conclusion that semiplaning monohulls are likely to be profitable.
Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. As expected, the correct answer recognizes that the second sentence (1) is a potential objection to the argument's main conclusion regarding potential profitability, and (2) is countered by the comparison between ships and airplanes. This is exactly what we predicted.
Answer choice (E): While it is true that distinctions are made between ship types and plane types, both in terms of transportation costs and speed/reliability, the role of the second sentence is much more than that. The author isn't using it to simply distinguish between the types, but rather to address head-on a clear concern for the conclusion, and attempt to remove that concern via analogy. This is probably the closest incorrect option, but it fails to adequately describe the sentence's true function (and is certainly no match for the preceding answer choice).