Car crashes are contributing to climate change, a senior representative of the auto industry told lawmakers Wednesday.

"The Federal Highway Administration estimates that 12.5 percent of congestion, 3 million metric tons [of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions], is directly attributable to crashes," said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "Thus, there is a direct link between reducing crashes and reducing CO2 emissions," which many scientists say is the cause of manmade climate change.

Bainwol was testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee on manufacturing and trade on a draft reauthorization bill for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He said the auto industry's push, driven by federal regulations from the highway administration and EPA, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve fuel economy is helping the industry improve safety through the integration of new technologies.

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He also said Congress is focused on improving mobility and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions in a new highway bill being marked up Thursday in the House transportation committee. The highway bill includes $175 million over six years directed at tackling the problem of traffic congestion and crashes.

"Congestion wastes 3 billion gallons of fuel," Bainwol said, which is equal to "27 million metric tones of CO2 emissions every year."

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