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TOEFL Vol 1 Official Practice Test #1

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

in twenty years, there will be fewer cars in use than there are today.

As it stands today, the world's population is currently at roughly seven billion people. This burgeoning population is set to increase even more in the next few decades, such that the global population is expected to hit the eighth billion mark by 2020. With this in mind, it is difficult to imagine a world in twenty years' time, where there would actually be fewer cars on the roads than there is today. And yet, I believe that there is cause for optimism in the world's current goals in attaining sustainable development, such that perhaps this vision of the future might be closer to reality than it is to a dream.

There is perhaps no other country on Earth besides China, which has experienced a greater population explosion and a faster economic growth in the past century alone. Along with this rapid urbanization and increased standards of living came the exponential increase in demand by the Chinese population for the trappings of material wealth, such as real estate properties, luxurious goods, and of course, cars. In the past decade alone, the number of vehicles on the roads of Shanghai has quadrupled. As the population of other countries throughout the world increases, we might expect this same spike in demand for cars in these countries. And with more cars, comes greater output of toxic fumes exacerbating the current air pollution in cities, as well as of carbon emissions which aggravate the problem of global warming. However, there is a glimmer of hope in this horrifying situation, in that alongside the increase in demand for cars in Chinese cities, there has also been an increase in the use of bicycles, carpooling and innovative solutions like Uber drivers observed in these urban centers. Therefore, while population growths are often accompanied by increased usage of cars, this rise in demand might only be temporary because of the simultaenous rise of other alternative transportation besides cars.

But perhaps the most promising reason to believe that in twenty years, we will see fewer cars running on our roads, is the world's collective response to the observed effects of decades of wanton destruction of the environment because of economic greed and inconsiderate use of natural resources. This is best seen in the global concerted effort to achieve the goals of sustainable development, which is the promotion of human development and progress not just for today's generations, but also for the generations to come. Some of these goals focus on the reduction of carbon emissions through traffic exhaust gases, therefore it has been proposed that governments increase car prices as a deterrent measure to control the number of cars, and thus control the amount of carbon emissions, on the roads. It is also foreseen that within this century, many natural gas and oil resources would dry up, and this would also force the market prices of cars to go up, hence limiting the number of people who could afford them. As mentioned earlier, the prevalence of alternative modes of transportation, especially those which contribute little to carbon emissions, would fill the gap caused by the reduced number of cars available on the roads.

Lastly, the current problems of the world pertaining to sustainable development would also encourage the development of new technologies to create vehicles that align more with the goals of sustainable development. In fact, in recent years the electric car has been developed, designed to diminish the reliance of vehicles on petroleum and natural gases. Carpooling is nothing new, but the rise in trend of Uber taxis also indicate that people clamour for other alternatives to simply buying their own car.

To conclude, I believe that if countries were to remain true to their promises to upkeep the principles of sustainable development, the world would be able to use the remaining natural resources in such a way that an ever increasing world propulation would not necessarily mean an increase in detrimental practices against sustainable development, including the increase of cars on the roads. Hence, we could indeed be optimistic that in twenty years, there will be fewer cars in use than there are today.

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