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Overview of the Ford Pinto Fuel Tank Issue

            All of the controversy that was stirred up about the Ford Pinto was about the placement of the automobiles' fuel tanks. The fuel tanks were located just a little bit behind the rear axle of the car, instead of being on top of the axle like they usually are. The reason this was done was because the designers were trying to create more trunk space. The main problem with a design like this, which became very evident later on, was that if another vehicle happened to hit the vehicle from the rear, there was a lot higher chance of a disaster. The vulnerability was increased quite a bit by other parts of the Pinto. The back axle and the gas tank had a gap of only nine inches between them. There were also multiple bolts that were placed and pointed in such a way that could possibly puncture the gas tank. Finally, the design of the pipe that was used to fill the tank created a much higher possibility that it would come apart from the fuel tank if it were involved in an accident than it usually would, which would cause gas to spill out and could lead to explosions or dangerous fires. Because there were so many design flaws, the Ford Pinto ended up at the middle of a huge engineering ethics debate. .
             The Ford company most likely assumed that even though the way they had designed the fuel tank, it could be a bit dangerous. Considering that the Ford Pinto was actually placed out on the market, Ford must have assumed that even though it may be risky it was still possible to get away with selling the vehicle. Claiming that, "the cost would have been $137 million versus the $49.5 million price tag on the deaths, injuries, and car damages" (Palmiter), the factor of money is very prevalent. Clearly Ford believed that it would be much more beneficial to keep the design in the market and have a "few" flaws, than to fix the design and have millions of dollars lost to a faulty design.

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