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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of fuel costs from the real IELTS general training exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Fuel Costs

The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel for cars and other private vehicles.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Some feel that the optimal solution to the current environmental crisis is to raise fuel costs for various private vehicles. In my opinion, though this would have a tangible impact, a more holistic approach is advisable.

On the one hand, increasing the price of fuel would have a clearly identifiable impact. In both developing and developed countries, private vehicles are becoming more common. More expensive fuel costs would discourage individuals from taking long trips and encourage them to seek alternative modes of transport such as walking, riding a bicycle, sharing transportation, and using public transportation. The average family that struggles to pay their bills every month might then decide to stay home rather than take a short trip on weekends if the cost of travel outweighs the potential enjoyment. Governments would be able to clearly chart the effects produced by these taxes and adjust them accordingly.

On the other hand, a wide variety of measures that do not target less affluent segments of society would have a greater effect. A single remedy is unlikely to produce the desired result as the majority of middle and upper class citizens would not be deterred by minor taxes. Instead, governments should consider all the relevant environment issues ranging from deforestation and single-use plastics to fossil fuel consumption in industry and the methane released in factory farming. To truly and sustainably counter these issues, governments will need to employ a variety of tactics that will likely include not only taxes but also regulations and various educational initiatives. The tackling of a single cause, such as the fuel used in private vehicles, will have marginal impact at best.

In conclusion, despite tangible results that a tax might engender, governments should opt for a more comprehensive environmental policy. This is a pressing issue and requires a nuanced, long-term approach.

Analysis

1. Some feel that the optimal solution to the current environmental crisis is to raise fuel costs for various private vehicles. 2. In my opinion, though this would have a tangible impact, a more holistic approach is advisable.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. On the one hand, increasing the price of fuel would have a clearly identifiable impact. 2. In both developing and developed countries, private vehicles are becoming more common. 3. More expensive fuel costs would discourage individuals from taking long trips and encourage them to seek alternative modes of transport such as walking, riding a bicycle, sharing transportation, and using public transportation. 4. The average family that struggles to pay their bills every month might then decide to stay home rather than take a short trip on weekends if the cost of travel outweighs the potential enjoyment. 5. Governments would be able to clearly chart the effects produced by these taxes and adjust them accordingly.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Finish strong.

1. On the other hand, a wide variety of measures that do not target less affluent segments of society would have a greater effect. 2. A single remedy is unlikely to produce the desired result as the majority of middle and upper class citizens would not be deterred by minor taxes. 3. Instead, governments should consider all the relevant environment issues ranging from deforestation and single-use plastics to fossil fuel consumption in industry and the methane released in factory farming. 4. To truly and sustainably counter these issues, governments will need to employ a variety of tactics that will likely include not only taxes but also regulations and various educational initiatives. 5. The tackling of a single cause, such as the fuel used in private vehicles, will have marginal impact at best.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.

1. In conclusion, despite tangible results that a tax might engender, governments should opt for a more comprehensive environmental policy. 2. This is a pressing issue and requires a nuanced, long-term approach.

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

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Some feel that the optimal solution to the current environmental crisis is to raise fuel costs for various private vehicles. In my opinion, though this would have a tangible impact, a more holistic approach is advisable.

On the one hand, increasing the price of fuel would have a clearly identifiable impact. In both developing and developed countries, private vehicles are becoming more common. More expensive fuel costs would discourage individuals from taking long trips and encourage them to seek alternative modes of transport such as walking, riding a bicycle, sharing transportation, and using public transportation. The average family that struggles to pay their bills every month might then decide to stay home rather than take a short trip on weekends if the cost of travel outweighs the potential enjoyment. Governments would be able to clearly chart the effects produced by these taxes and adjust them accordingly.

On the other hand, a wide variety of measures that do not target less affluent segments of society would have a greater effect. A single remedy is unlikely to produce the desired result as the majority of middle and upper class citizens would not be deterred by minor taxes. Instead, governments should consider all the relevant environment issues ranging from deforestation and single-use plastics to fossil fuel consumption in industry and the methane released in factory farming. To truly and sustainably counter these issues, governments will need to employ a variety of tactics that will likely include not only taxes but also regulations and various educational initiatives. The tackling of a single cause, such as the fuel used in private vehicles, will have marginal impact at best.

In conclusion, despite tangible results that a tax might engender, governments should opt for a more comprehensive environmental policy. This is a pressing issue and requires a nuanced, long-term approach.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

optimal solution best method

current environmental crisis problems related to nature happening now

raise fuel costs make gas more expensive

various private vehicles different kinds of cars, etc.

tangible impact real effect

holistic approach comprehensive method

advisable recommended

clearly identifiable impact definite effect

developing and developed countries poor and rich nations

expensive costs a lot

discourage not make someone want to do it

taking long trips traveling far

encourage make people want to do it

alternative modes different ways

transport ways of getting around

sharing transportation travelling together such as in the same car

public transportation buses, subways, etc.

average family normal family

struggles have difficulty

pay their bills afford the cost of

decide choose

rather than instead of

outweighs stronger than

potential enjoyment possible jobs

clearly chart easily record

produced by created by

taxes money paid to governments

adjust change

accordingly based on what they learn

a wide variety of measures different kinds of actions

target less affluent segments focus on poorer areas

remedy fix

produce the desired result create what is meant to be done

majority most of

middle and upper class citizens medium rich and very rich people

deterred not encouraged to

minor small

instead rather than

consider think about

relevant environment issues problems related to nature and climate change

deforestation cutting down trees

single-use plastics bottles, bags, etc.

fossil fuel consumption burning oil

industry business

methane released gas sent into the air

factory farming giant farms

truly definitely

sustainably counter good long-term solution

employ use

tactics strategies

regulations rules, laws

various educational initiatives different kinds of policies

tackling fighting

single cause main source

marginal impact at best small effect in the best case scenario

despite tangible regardless of the real effect

engender create

opt for choose to

comprehensive total

policy laws, regulations

pressing issue important problem

requires needs

nuanced complex

long-term approach thinking of the future, not short-term

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈɒptɪməl səˈluːʃən 
ˈkʌrənt ɪnˌvaɪərənˈmɛntl ˈkraɪsɪs 
reɪz fjʊəl kɒsts 
ˈveərɪəs ˈpraɪvɪt ˈviːɪklz
ˈtænʤəbl ˈɪmpækt
həˈlɪstɪk əˈprəʊʧ 
ədˈvaɪzəbl
ˈklɪəli aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪəbl ˈɪmpækt
dɪˈvɛləpɪŋ ænd dɪˈvɛləpt ˈkʌntriz
ɪksˈpɛnsɪv 
dɪsˈkʌrɪʤ 
ˈteɪkɪŋ lɒŋ trɪps 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv məʊdz 
ˈtrænspɔːt 
ˈʃeərɪŋ ˌtrænspɔːˈteɪʃən
ˈpʌblɪk ˌtrænspɔːˈteɪʃən
ˈævərɪʤ ˈfæmɪli 
ˈstrʌglz 
peɪ ðeə bɪlz 
dɪˈsaɪd 
ˈrɑːðə ðæn 
aʊtˈweɪz 
pəʊˈtɛnʃəl ɪnˈʤɔɪmənt
ˈklɪəli ʧɑːt 
prəˈdjuːst baɪ 
ˈtæksɪz 
əˈʤʌst 
əˈkɔːdɪŋli
ə waɪd vəˈraɪəti ɒv ˈmɛʒəz 
ˈtɑːgɪt lɛs ˈæflʊənt ˈsɛgmənts 
ˈrɛmɪdi 
ˈprɒdjuːs ðə dɪˈzaɪəd rɪˈzʌlt 
məˈʤɒrɪti 
ˈmɪdl ænd ˈʌpə klɑːs ˈsɪtɪznz 
dɪˈtɜːd 
ˈmaɪnə 
ɪnˈstɛd
kənˈsɪdə 
ˈrɛlɪvənt ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt ˈɪʃuːz 
dɪˌfɒrɪˈsteɪʃ(ə)n 
ˈsɪŋgl-juːz ˈplæstɪks 
ˈfɒsl fjʊəl kənˈsʌm(p)ʃən 
ˈɪndəstri 
ˈmiːθeɪn rɪˈliːst 
ˈfæktəri ˈfɑːmɪŋ 
ˈtruːli 
susteɪnəbliː ˈkaʊntə 
ɪmˈplɔɪ 
ˈtæktɪks 
ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz 
ˈveərɪəs ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl ɪˈnɪʃɪətɪvz
ˈtæklɪŋ 
ˈsɪŋgl kɔːz
ˈmɑːʤɪnəl ˈɪmpækt æt bɛst
dɪsˈpaɪt ˈtænʤəbl 
ɪnˈʤɛndə
ɒpt fɔː 
ˌkɒmprɪˈhɛnsɪv 
ˈpɒlɪsi
ˈprɛsɪŋ ˈɪʃuː 
rɪˈkwaɪəz 
nju(ː)ˈɑːnst
ˈlɒŋtɜːm əˈprəʊʧ

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Some feel that the o_________________n to the c____________________________s is to r_______________________s for v___________________________s. In my opinion, though this would have a t________________t, a more h________________h is a_____________e.

On the one hand, increasing the price of fuel would have a c___________________________t. In both d__________________________________s, private vehicles are becoming more common. More e___________e fuel costs would d__________e individuals from t________________s and e_________e them to seek a___________________s of t_____________t such as walking, riding a bicycle, s______________________n, and using p________________________n. The a_________________y that s________________s to p_______________s every month might then d_____e to stay home r___________n take a short trip on weekends if the cost of travel o____________s the p___________________________t. Governments would be able to c_____________t the effects p______________y these t_______s and a_______t them a_____________y.

On the other hand, a_________________________s that do not t_________________________________s of society would have a greater effect. A single r___________y is unlikely to p_________________________t as the m_________y of m______________________________s would not be d___________d by m_____r taxes. I_________d, governments should consider all the r____________________________s ranging from d________________n and s____________________s to f___________________________n in i____________y and the m_________________d in f____________________g. To t_____y and s____________________r these issues, governments will need to e__________y a variety of t__________s that will likely include not only taxes but also r_______________s and v____________________________s. The t___________g of a s______________e, such as the fuel used in private vehicles, will have m__________________________t.

In conclusion, d_________________e results that a tax might e_________r, governments should opt for a more comprehensive environmental p_______y. This is a p___________e and r__________s a n__________d, l________________________h.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.leeds.ac.uk/news-business-economy/news/article/4963/free-green-services-could-substantially-reduce-household-emissions

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Driving

  1. Do you like driving?
  2. Where was the last place you drove?
  3. Where do you like to sit in a car?
  4. Is driving common in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

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

Why is this?

How could this be controlled?


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