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Half a Million Cars Could Need Replacing Due to Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has wrought unimaginable damage to one of our country's most vibrant cities.

It's heartbreaking to consider how much Harvey affected Texas. Not only are many people displaced due to flood damage to their homes, many don't have vehicles either.

Half a million cars could be gone

Cox Automotive reports the damaging weather could result in 300,000 to 500,000 vehicles lost. They came to this calculation using data on how many cars were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, along with damage reported by Harvey.

Wired reports insurance companies have received close to 100,000 damage claims from Harvey so far, with 75 percent of those claims resulting in total loss.

To provide comparative context, weather from Sandy contributed to 250,000 cars destroyed. The estimates are much higher in Houston, where vehicle ownership is more prevalent, according to Cox Automotive chief economist Jonathan Smoke.

Smoke estimates new vehicle sales in Houston for the past year has been around 325,000. He notes it would be devastating if the area had more than 300,000 cars lost.

High demand for vehicles

The unfortunate reality is the need for vehicles will continually be high. So much so that car rental companies are sending thousands of automobiles to the region, according to Wired.

The high demand doesn't only account for those who lost their vehicles to the flood, but also for emergency personnel who require cars to help those in need.

A devastating reality

While some might have the opportunity to eventually replace their vehicles due to insurance claims, there could be as many as 100,000 people who will have to pay to replace their vehicle, according to estimates from Wired.

And this is a more sobering reality when you consider these are the same people who have lost their homes and many, if not all their belongings during Harvey. This illustrates the demand for reliable transportation will remain a persistent need long after the waters have receded.