In “Oil Prices: Cause and Effect,” the author analyzes the relationship between the supply of crude oil and price. Alan Reynolds, analyst with the think tank Cato Institute, focuses more heavily on the effects of the situation, which is consequential given the presence of globalization and the importance of oil to the global economy. Reynolds’ thesis statement argues that “When the cost of oil goes up, production costs are increased and profits reduced for industries that depend on oil” (Reynolds, 2005). As a thesis statement, it is a bit misleading in that the essay initially appeared to be about the effects of oil price increases on consumers. Instead, the focus is on business and industry. The author’s purpose is criticism; criticism of the federal government’s misunderstanding of the industrial effects of price increases. However, this is unclear until the final paragraph, which does not take the reader’s expectations into account.

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The author spells out the circumstances that affect industry, and breaks down the industrial uses of imported oil. Reynolds is clearly fluent in the finer points of the situation but does not lay them out in a manner that is coherent for the reader. He spends the first four paragraphs explaining the variations in consumer and industrial uses of oil but does not fully clarify whose effects he is focused on until the beginning of paragraph five. As such, he has not employed effective introductory and concluding strategies since the closest thing to a thesis statement does not appear until approximately a third of the way through the article. The concluding paragraph implies that Washington insiders are to blame, but this is his first specific mention of them.

  • Reynolds, Alan. “Oil Prices: Cause and Effect.” Cato Institute, 23 June 2005. Accessed 20 April 2013 at