How you drive and take care of your vehicle affects its fuel economy and emissions levels. Follow these simple driving tips to reduce the environmental impact of your car today.

Drive less. Driving as little as possible is the best way to reduce the environmental impact of your transportation needs. Link errands, carpool, use mass transit, bike, or walk whenever possible. Choose a place to live that reduces your need to drive. If your family already has one car, consider trying to meet your travel needs without buying a second one.

Drive moderately. High-speed driving and jack-rabbit starts increase both fuel use and emissions.

Keep your vehicle well tuned. Simple maintenance -- such as regular oil changes, air-filter changes, and spark plug replacements -- will lengthen the life of your car as well as improve fuel economy and minimize emissions.

Inflate your tires. Keeping your tires properly inflated saves fuel by reducing the amount of drag your engine must overcome.

Keep track of your fuel economy. A drop in your car's fuel economy can be a sign of engine trouble. Keeping track of your fuel economy on a regular basis can let you know when something is malfunctioning. You can check your gas mileage by noting the odometer reading and number of gallons you purchase each time you fill up. Divide the number of miles traveled between fill-ups by the number of gallons purchased.

Don't let your car idle for more than a minute. During start-up, your engine burns extra gasoline. However, letting your engine idle for more than a minute burns more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it.

Park in the shade. Minimize evaporation of fuel and keep your car cooler in the summer by parking in the shade.