King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Eco 200: bumper cars

(group) Is it efficient for cars to have bumpers so strong and heavy that the car will sustain no damage in collisions at speeds up to 5 miles per hour? How would you answer such a question if you were a car buyer? If you were an automobile manufacturer? If you were a federal official charged with setting minimum standards for automobile bumpers?

As a recent car buyer, I felt it was valuable to have a car with a strong bumper as parking in Seattle often entails vehicles "nudging" other vehicles. I'd rather have a car that sustains no damage because I do not want to replace my car if it were to fall apart at the slightest bump. An automobile manufacturer ultimately wants to sell more cars and parts. They will value a strong bumper if it sells more value in cars than a lack of it sells more value in replacement parts. By the same token, auto purchasers may value the lack of a strong bumper as more valuable if the cost of replacing parts over time is cheaper than the extra cost to include the bumper. Or if they don't have they money up front. Or if they don't know how fragile a car really is. Or if they assume the car is not fragile. The federal official's job is to value injuries above all else. So they value the lack of whiplash injuries at low speeds higher than the cost of bumpers. Especially since they are not purchasing all those bumpers.


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