Task 2 Essay: Traffic Congestion and Petrol Tax
Question: The government should raise taxes on petrol to reduce traffic congestion. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Band 8+ Sample Answer:
(Intro) It is said that a higher tariff should be placed on petrol to alleviate the issue of traffic congestion. I personally disagree with this opinion since a heavier tax causes commuters more harm than good and therefore is not effective in cutting down traffic volume. Rather, improving road infrastructure as well as reliability and comfort of public transport would be more feasible approaches.
(Body 1) To begin with, higher excise on petrol results in higher living expenses while not achieving the intended benefits of reduced car use. When a product or service is taxed heavily, it is consumers that are being directly discouraged but this logic is flawed for essential goods. This approach does not always lead to commuters cutting back on their travelling since going to work or driving their children to school is a basic necessity in their daily lives. This is evidenced by gasoline price fluctuations which occur relatively frequently in accordance with changing economic situations. These increases petrol prices do not considerably mitigate traffic jams in city centres.
(Body 2) To effectively deal with traffic gridlocks, better alternatives would be upgrading roads and public transport systems. Firstly, more overpasses or underpasses could be constructed in inner cities and national expressways could be built to better accommodate an ever increasing volume of traffic. To illustrate, a newly opened Hanoi – Hai Phong highway in Vietnam has alleviated the considerable strain on city roads. In addition, the punctuality and reliability of buses and trains could be improved, and equipped with modern amenities such as air-conditioners and well-designed interiors to facilitate a more pleasant experience for passengers, in order to encourage people to give up the convenience and comfort of their own vehicles.
(Conclusion) In conclusion, imposing higher taxes on petrol does not really encourage drivers to cut down on private vehicle usage and therefore wouldn't resolve traffic problems in an efficient way. Rather, investing in road networks and public transport would be more viable solutions. By tackling this issue we can reduce the effects of air pollution in cities, which significantly impacts on human health. (342 words)
Words: Student essay, corrected & upgraded by Nick Kemp, former IELTS examiner.
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