2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco

The federal government debuted redesigned fuel economy window stickers last May in an effort to increase awareness about how much car shoppers spend on fuel. The new stickers are mandatory on all 2013 model-year vehicles, which are starting to hit dealer lots. Some automakers implemented the new stickers on their 2012 model-year vehicles.

The new labels aim to provide consumers with more information, specifically on the annual fuel cost and environmental impact rating. But the estimated annual fuel cost, for example, can change because fuel prices fluctuate regularly. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said last May the new label will come with QR Codes that car shoppers can scan with their smartphones to access the most recent fuel cost estimates based on the consumer’s driving habits.

The new label also includes fuel economy data for plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, flex-fuel vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, diesel vehicles and natural gas vehicles. For electric vehicles, for example, the label includes information such as driving range, miles per gallon equivalent (mpg-e) and how long it takes to charge.

“It’s going to take some time for car shoppers to digest all the information on the new fuel economy and environment labels, but federal agencies hope it will help consumers make more informed decisions about which car is right for them,” MotorWeek reports.

Instead of displaying just city and highway mpg data and the annual fuel cost, the new label features information on annual fuel savings over five years compared with the average new vehicle, which the EPA says gets a combined city/highway rating of 22 mpg. It also gives a greenhouse gas rating and a smog rating, which measure the amount of carbon dioxide the car emits from its tailpipe.

Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. You can also skip negotiating with a dealer by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.