June 2007 LSAT, II, #8

Let's continue through the June 2007 LSAT.  (It's the only thing the LSAC is ever going to give you for free, so go ahead and print yourself a copy.) Section 2, Question 8 is another "Complete the Argument" question, like Question 3 of the same section.  This argument makes more sense though.  (I wasn't buying Question 3's stupid analogy.)  If you haven't already read the argument for Question 8, go ahead and do so now.  Don't look at the answer choices until you've attempted to fill in the blank with your own words.  What do you think?

My first thought is that this sounds like the argument that an ANTI-electric car person would say.  It starts off by saying "proponents of the electric car maintain..."  There's something snarky about that word "maintain," isn't there?  You get the sense that there's a "but actually" coming right around the corner.  Like "my brother maintains that he has been applying for jobs every day for the past six months, but actually he is a lazy piece of..."

This argument is no exception.  The electric car folks maintain that electric cars are going to abate the environmental degradation caused by auto emissions.  But actually, according to the speaker, the electricity has to come from somewhere.  The speaker presents three possible sources of electricity:  1) Dam more rivers, 2) nuclear power plants, and 3) coal-fired power plants.  The speaker then says that each of these three electricity sources causes "considerable environmental damage."  This is building up to something.  What's next?  I think it's going to be "Thus, the electric car will not ultimately be good for the environment."  That seems to be where the argument is going.  Alternatively, the answer could be something a little softer and more justified by the premises, like "Thus, the electric car will not be entirely good for the environment" or "will not be without its own environmental problems."  I like those latter two predictions the best, actually, because they are conservative.  On this type of question, where I am asked to be "logical," I wouldn't want to pick an answer that goes further than what the facts would logically support.

Having made a prediction (or three), now it's time to go to the answer choices.

A)  Sure, I could get behind this one.  I like the word "may" here.  That softens it a bit, and makes it more reasonable.  I certainly wouldn't be shocked if this were the completion of the argument.  It's a keeper.

B)  No way.  "Popularity" wasn't what the argument was about.  The argument was solely about environmental effects.

C)  The argument doesn't talk about "purely technical problems."  Where did that come from?  What does that even mean, in this context?  I don't think this is a very likely conclusion of the argument.  (The correct answer here shouldn't come as any surprise... it should be the "logical completion" of the argument.)  This can't be it.

D)  I'm worried that this answer is too specific, or goes too far.  The speaker never did any math, or said exactly how many old emissions will be abated vs. how many new emissions will be created.  I like the softer language in A better.

E)  Again, I think this goes too far.  My explanation for E is the same as my explanation for D.  I think the best answer--the most conservative, logical conclusion of the argument--is A.