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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of cars and damaging the environment.

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IELTS Essay: Cars Damaging the Environment

The manufacturing and use of cars damages the environment but their popularity is increasing.

Why is this?

How could this be controlled?

Even though both production and car use increase pollution, the auto industry continues to expand. This is because developing nations now have greater disposable income and governments can limit the resultant environmental damage through regulation.

The main cause underlying an increasing numbers of cars is growth in developing countries. Ownership in developed countries peaked decades ago and many European nations in particular are now adopting greener modes of transport. However, in developing nations, cars are seen as a status symbol that boost self-esteem and serve a practical travel purpose. Coupled with increased per capita GDP, the boom in car ownership is unsurprising. For example, a growing middle class in Vietnam has driven up purchases of foreign automobiles dramatically over the last decade. The demand is so great that last year a Vietnamese company introduced the first domestically produced car. This same trend is replicated around the world in developing countries.

The most impactful response is from the government. Consumers will continue to buy cars but the government has control over a range of possible environmental protective measures. For example, there could be stricter laws related to emission standards. This would cut down on the average amount of pollution from individual cars and collectively make a huge difference. Another measure would be to discourage car ownership by taxing cars heavily and improving the quality of public transportation. A good example of this would also be in Vietnam where there is a 200% tax on cars and the government is building the world’s most expensive subway system in Ho Chi Minh City. Individuals are unlikely to change their behaviour en masse so it falls to policymakers to dissuade citizens through proactive reforms and policies.

In conclusion, more cars can be explained by rising incomes globally and pragmatic solutions come from government regulation. If taken seriously, the heavy environmental toll of cars can be curbed.

Analysis

1. Even though both production and car use increase pollution, the auto industry continues to expand. 2. This is because developing nations now have greater disposable income and governments can limit the resultant environmental damage through regulation.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Answer both questions clearly. Learn more about introductions here and two part question structure here.

1. The main cause underlying an increasing numbers of cars is growth in developing countries. 2. Ownership in developed countries peaked decades ago and many European nations in particular are now adopting greener modes of transport. 3. However, in developing nations, cars are seen as a status symbol that boost self-esteem and serve a practical travel purpose. 4. Coupled with increased per capita GDP, the boom in car ownership is unsurprising. 5. For example, a growing middle class in Vietnam has driven up purchases of foreign automobiles dramatically over the last decade. 6. The demand is so great that last year a Vietnamese company introduced the first domestically produced car. 7. This same trend is replicated around the world in developing countries.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Explain or give the background for your idea.
  3. Add in specific detail and don’t switch to a new idea.
  4. Include more specific supporting information.
  5. Give a specific example.
  6. Develop the example.
  7. Generalise to other countries.

1. The most impactful response is from the government. 2. Consumers will continue to buy cars but the government has control over a range of possible environmental protective measures. 3. For example, there could be stricter laws related to emission standards. 4. This would cut down on the average amount of pollution from individual cars and collectively make a huge difference. 5. Another measure would be to discourage car ownership by taxing cars heavily and improving the quality of public transportation. 6. A good example of this would also be in Vietnam where there is a 200% tax on cars and the government is building the world’s most expensive subway system in Ho Chi Minh City. 7. Individuals are unlikely to change their behaviour en masse so it falls to policymakers to dissuade citizens through proactive reforms and policies.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Begin a specific example.
  4. Develop the example.
  5. Include another solution.
  6. Develop that solution with a specific example if possible.
  7. Conclude with a strong general statement.

1. In conclusion, more cars can be explained by rising incomes globally and pragmatic solutions come from government regulation. 2. If taken seriously, the heavy environmental toll of cars can be curbed.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Add a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Even though both production and car use increase pollution, the auto industry continues to expand. This is because developing nations now have greater disposable income and governments can limit the resultant environmental damage through regulation.

The main cause underlying an increasing numbers of cars is growth in developing countries. Ownership in developed countries peaked decades ago and many European nations in particular are now adopting greener modes of transport. However, in developing nations, cars are seen as a status symbol that boost self-esteem and serve a practical travel purpose. Coupled with increased per capita GDP, the boom in car ownership is unsurprising. For example, a growing middle class in Vietnam has driven up purchases of foreign automobiles dramatically over the last decade. The demand is so great that last year a Vietnamese company introduced the first domestically produced car. This same trend is replicated around the world in developing countries.

The most impactful response is from the government. Consumers will continue to buy cars but the government has control over a range of possible environmental protective measures. For example, there could be stricter laws related to emission standards. This would cut down on the average amount of pollution from individual cars and collectively make a huge difference. Another measure would be to discourage car ownership by taxing cars heavily and improving the quality of public transportation. A good example of this would also be in Vietnam where there is a 200% tax on cars and the government is building the world’s most expensive subway system in Ho Chi Minh City. Individuals are unlikely to change their behaviour en masse so it falls to policymakers to dissuade citizens through proactive reforms and policies.

In conclusion, more cars can be explained by rising incomes globally and pragmatic solutions come from government regulation. If taken seriously, the heavy environmental toll of cars can be curbed.

Answers

even though despite

production manufacturing

auto industry making cars

expand grow bigger

greater disposable income more money to spend

limit constrain

resultant environmental damage increasing climate change, polluting the environment

regulation limiting

underlying foundational

ownership have a car

peaked decades ago reach a high point a long time ago

in particular especially

adopting greener modes of transport using more environmentally friendly options

status symbol show-off

boost self-esteem feel better about yourself

serve a practical travel purpose useful

coupled with combine with

per capita GDP average income

boom increase

unsurprising no shock

growing middle class more people with money

driven up increased

dramatically substantially

demand desire

introduced premiered

domestically produced car not a foreign car

trend pattern

replicated repeated

impactful response most effective solution

consumers buyers

control over can regulate

range of possible environmental protective measures many ways to protect the environment

stricter laws better regulations

emission standards how clean a car is

cut down on reduce

average amount how much is used per person

collectively all together

huge difference big impact

measure action

discourage car ownership dissuade people from buying cars

heavily a lot

200% tax pay doble

subway system underground

en masse all together

falls to policymakers responsibility of government

dissuade discourage

proactive reforms take an active role in changing

policies laws

explained shown

globally around the world

pragmatic solutions practical countermeasures

government regulation laws

if taken seriously done well

heavy environmental toll hurts the environment a lot

curbed limited

Pronunciation

ˈiːvən ðəʊ 
prəˈdʌkʃən 
ˈɔːtəʊ ˈɪndəstri 
ɪksˈpænd
ˈgreɪtə dɪsˈpəʊzəbl ˈɪnkʌm 
ˈlɪmɪt 
rɪˈzʌltənt ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl ˈdæmɪʤ 
ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃən
ˌʌndəˈlaɪɪŋ 
ˈəʊnəʃɪp 
piːkt ˈdɛkeɪdz əˈgəʊ 
ɪn pəˈtɪkjʊlə 
əˈdɒptɪŋ ˈgriːnə məʊdz ɒv ˈtrænspɔːt
ˈsteɪtəs ˈsɪmbəl 
buːst sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm 
sɜːv ə ˈpræktɪkəl ˈtrævl ˈpɜːpəs
ˈkʌpld wɪð 
pɜː ˈkæpɪtə ʤiː-diː-piː
buːm 
ˌʌnsəˈpraɪzɪŋ
ˈgrəʊɪŋ ˈmɪdl klɑːs 
ˈdrɪvn ʌp 
drəˈmætɪk(ə)li 
dɪˈmɑːnd 
ˌɪntrəˈdjuːst 
dəʊˈmɛstɪk(ə)li prəˈdjuːst kɑː
trɛnd 
ˈrɛplɪkeɪtɪd 
ˈɪmpæktf(ə)l rɪsˈpɒns 
kənˈsjuːməz 
kənˈtrəʊl ˈəʊvə 
reɪnʤ ɒv ˈpɒsəbl ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl prəˈtɛktɪv ˈmɛʒəz
ˈstrɪktə lɔːz 
ɪˈmɪʃən ˈstændədz
kʌt daʊn ɒn 
ˈævərɪʤ əˈmaʊnt 
kɒˈlɛktɪvli 
hjuːʤ ˈdɪfrəns
ˈmɛʒə 
dɪsˈkʌrɪʤ kɑːr ˈəʊnəʃɪp 
ˈhɛvɪli 
tuː ˈhʌndrəd pəˈsɛnt tæks 
ˈsʌbweɪ ˈsɪstɪm 
ɛn mæs
fɔːlz tuː ˈpɒlɪsi ˈmeɪkəz 
dɪˈsweɪd 
prəʊˈæktɪv ˌriːˈfɔːmz 
ˈpɒlɪsiz
ɪksˈpleɪnd 
ˈgləʊbəli 
prægˈmætɪk səˈluːʃənz 
ˈgʌvnmənt ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃən
ɪf ˈteɪkən ˈsɪərɪəsli
ˈhɛvi ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl təʊl 
kɜːbd

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

E______________h both p______________n and car use increase pollution, the a______________y continues to e__________d. This is because developing nations now have g___________________________e and governments can l______t the r__________________________________e through r___________n.

The main cause u_____________g an increasing numbers of cars is growth in developing countries. O_____________p in developed countries p_____________________o and many European nations i______________r are now a_______________________________________t. However, in developing nations, cars are seen as a s_______________l that b______________m and s_______________________________________e. C_______________h increased p_______________________P, the b_______m in car ownership is u______________g. For example, a g_______________________s in Vietnam has d_____________p purchases of foreign automobiles d______________y over the last decade. The d___________d is so great that last year a Vietnamese company i_______________d the first d________________________r. This same t________d is r_______________d around the world in developing countries.

The most i_______________________e is from the government. C_____________s will continue to buy cars but the government has c_____________r a r_________________________________________________s. For example, there could be s_____________s related to e______________________s. This would c________________________n the a_____________________t of pollution from individual cars and c_________________y make a h__________________e. Another m_____________e would be to d______________________p by taxing cars h_____________y and improving the quality of public transportation. A good example of this would also be in Vietnam where there is a 2_____________x on cars and the government is building the world’s most expensive s____________________m in Ho Chi Minh City. Individuals are unlikely to change their behaviour e__________e so it f____________________s to d____________e citizens through p_____________________s and p_______________s.

In conclusion, more cars can be e______________d by rising incomes g___________y and p_____________________s come from g__________________________n. I____________________y, the h___________________________l of cars can be c__________d.

Listening Practice

Watch the video below to understand the idea of a carbon footprint:

Reading Practice

Learn more about the environmental impact of cars below:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/green-guide/buying-guides/car/environmental-impact/

Speaking Practice

Answer the following related questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Walking (NEW BOOKLET)

  1. Do you go places on foot a lot?
  2. Did you walk more when you were younger?
  3. Why do some people prefer walking to driving a car?
  4. Do people in your country walk a lot?

Writing Practice

Write about the following topic and check with my sample answer:

When cars and cyclists use the same roads, there are often problems.

Why is this the case?

What are the solutions?


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