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IELTS fuel and the environment essay

This is one of my model IELTS essays lessons where you can

  • read the essay
  • do a vocabulary exercise
  • get a full lesson on how to write the essay

Read the IELTS fuel and the environment essay

The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Most people would accept that one of the highest priorities today is to find a solution to the various environmental problems facing mankind. It has been suggested that best way to achieve this is for governments to raise the price of fuel. I am, however, not sure that this is necessarily the case.

One reason why this approach may not work is that there is not just one environmental problem the world faces today. If governments did make fuel more expensive, it might well help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we produce and so slow down the rate of global warming and air pollution. However, it would not help with other major problems such as intensive farming, overpopulation, the hole in the ozone layer or water pollution. For these problems we need to find other solutions.

A second reason why this policy may not be the most appropriate is that it places the emphasis on governmental policy and not individual responsibility. Ultimately, most environmental problems are the result of the way we as individuals live our lives. If we wish to find a long-term and lasting solution to them, we need to learn to live in a way that it is greener or kinder to the environment. What governments need to do to make this happen is to ensure there is a global programme to educate people of all ages about the environmental consequences to their actions.

In summary, I believe that increasing the level of taxation on fuel is at best a short-term solution to only one environmental problem. If we wish to provide a home for our children’s children, education is likely to be the key to making this happen. (283 words)

Practise using the essay vocabulary

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Thinking about the question

Very often the key to writing a good IELTS essay is to read the question well. It is:

The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

The best?

This is very strong language. It may be “a” way, but is it the best? The natural way to approach this type of question with “most” or “best” in them is:

  • discuss why it may be a good idea
  • suggest another idea
  • compare the two ideas
  • decide which idea is best

This way you will certainly have enough to write.

To what extent

This means “how much”. If you get this type of question, in your conclusion you need to say one of:

  • completely
  • not at all
  • something in between

Typically, the easy (and the academic) answer in a timed exam is to choose something in between. To do this, you need to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages in the main body and then say in your conclusion that there are both advantages and disadvantages.

The essay structure

The essay structure is:

intro: restate the question and outline that “the best” is too strong language

para 1: explain that there are many different environmental problems not affected by fuel increases

para 2: explain that education is a better solution in the long-term

conclusion: restate the introduction (best is too strong) and summarise the main point (education is more effective)



This is an area you need variety of language (see my post The language of problems). I suggest that you note down some variations before you start writing. Here are some I use:

Increase the cost of fuel
Again, you want to try not to repeat the language of the question too much. Try these:

Environmental problems

There are a large range of possible environmental problems. The environmental language I use in this essay is:



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11 Responses to IELTS fuel and the environment essay

  1. yna August 15, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    u ‘re really great dominic, u simplified n expained details of the essay…thank u and i hope u can help more people before taking the exams

  2. hedyeh January 16, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    Ilike to have sample of ielts in iran.can you help me/

    • Dominic Cole January 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      You’ll find that they use the same questions all around the world.

  3. Sai July 20, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    I’m confused with the “to + verb +ing” phrases.From the above essay, what is the difference between these two phases? – “global programme to educate people..” and “the key to making this happen..”. These can also be written as “global programme to educating people..” and “the key to make this happen..”. How to differentiate?

    It would wonderful if you could answer as early as possible as I’m having exam tomorrow.


    • Dominic Cole July 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

      Good question.

      “to’ is complex because it has different uses – sometimes the hardest words are those that look simple. In truth, the best way to try and get this right is often to “learn phrases” as it is one of those areas that the “rules” are so complex that they end up confusing you. In your example, you cannot say: “global programme to educating people.” If you want a grammatical answer, I’d say that in “global programme to educate people..” “to educate” is an infinitive of the verb, whereas in “the key to making this happen..”. the “to making” is a preposition followed by a verb meaning the “to” bit belongs to the noun and not the verb.

  4. ram February 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Dominic,

    I have noticed more than 260-270 words in most of your essays. Some tutors say that crossing 255 words in actual IELTS examination might impact our points.

    • Dominic Cole February 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      There is absolutely no upper word limit and you will NOT be penalised for over 255 words. The only reason why you should try not to write too much (over 300 words) is that it is inefficient use of exam time. You will generally write a better essay if you give yourself more thinking and checking time and do not spend all the time writing.
      Stronger candidates will generally need/want more words and they can sometimes try and write too much. In this case, I suggest trying to limit essays to around 300 words.

  5. sundeep September 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm #

    Hi,this is sundeep i have got this question in my recent exam of ilets for this i have written like this , can i expect a decent score

    summary: about environment pollution and diff types of environment pollution among them saying about cars

    advantages : saying +points if we increase the cost of fuel (like mentioning it becomes environment friendly, increase in public transport and increase in use of environment friendly vehicles).

    disadvantages: saying -points if we increase the cost of fuel (like mentioning basic requirements of people increases, decrease of employment in cars dept and goods cost increases)

    conclusion: that i disagree the statement and i suggested that we need to focus on motivation regarding it is enough.

    • Dominic Cole September 2, 2015 at 8:58 am #

      Hi Sundeep

      What was the exact question?


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