I think for most utility functions, kicking over the bucket and then recreating a bucket with identical salt content (but different atoms) gets you back to a similar value to what you were at before. If recreating that salt mixture is expensive vs. cheap, and if attainable utility preservation works exactly as our initial intuitions might suggest (and I’m very unsure about that, but supposing it does work in the intuitive way), then AUP should be more likely to avoid disturbing the expensive salt mixture, and less likely to avoid disturbing the cheap salt mixture. That’s because for those utility functions for which the contents of the bucket were instrumentally useful, the value with respect to those utility functions goes down roughly by the cost of recreating the bucket’s contents. Also, if a certain salt mixture is less economically useful, there will be fewer utility functions for which kicking over the bucket leads to a loss in value, so if AUP works intuitively, it should also agree with our intuition there.
If it’s true that for most utility functions, the particular collection of atoms doesn’t matter, then it seems to me like AUP manages to assign a higher penalty to the actions that we would agree are more impactful, all without any information regarding human preferences.