CAT Critical Reasoning Practice question with Solution 92

Auto industry executive: Statistics show that cars that were built smaller after 1977 to make them more fuel-efficient had a higher incidence of accident-related fatalities than did their earlier larger counterparts. For this reason, we oppose recent guidelines that would require us to produce cars with higher fuel efficiency.

Which of the following, if true, would constitute the strongest objection to the executive’s argument?

[A]. Even after 1977, large automobiles were frequently involved in accidents that caused death or serious injury.
[B]. Although fatalities in accidents involving small cars have increased since 1977, the number of accidents has decreased.
[C]. New computerized fuel systems can enable large cars to meet fuel efficiency standards established by the recent guidelines.
[D]. Modern technology can make small cars more fuel-efficient today than at any other time in their production history.
[E]. Fuel efficiency in models of large cars rose immediately after 1977 but has been declining ever since.
Answer: C

The auto industry opposes a requirement to make cars that are more fuel-efficient. How come? Because previous attempts at better fuel efficiency led to smaller—but less safe—cars. The exec’s implication is that, once again, the search for better fuel efficiency will lead to small, dangerous cars, but (C) rebuts that by asserting that large cars can be made more fuel-efficient. More efficient cars needn’t be smaller, so it’s not true that they will have to be more dangerous.

(A)’s point that large cars were frequently involved in serious accidents doesn’t refute the statistics that smaller cars were even more dangerous.

(B) Au Contraire. This strengthens the automaker’s argument by confirming that small cars are very unsafe, since the odds of surviving an accident in one have become worse.

(D) doesn’t even address the automaker’s argument that progress in fuel efficiency requires dangerously small cars.

(E) suggests that the fuel-efficient cars on the market today are still those dangerous small cars. (E) might be stretched to imply that cars can be made more fuel-efficient and remain large, but it’s too vague; we don’t know why fuel efficiency rose and later fell, nor do we know if large cars could meet the proposed new standards.

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