TAMPA -- The ethanol industry is making progress toward the goal of helping consumers readily identify ethanol-enhanced fuel at the pump no matter where they are in the country.

Seven states have now officially approved labels that incorporate the "e" brand to mark pumps that dispense E10, or 10-percent ethanol fuel, according to the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council. Those states are Kansas, Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas and Ohio. EPIC is spreading the good news this week to corn growers meeting this week in Tampa, Fla., at the 2007 Commodity Classic.

EPIC Director of Operations Robert White said they are pleased with the progress made in just a few short months.

"The branding program is literally going state by state and the consistency is the 'e' logo, or the brand, and the variation of the label just depends on state rules and regs," said White. "But we have seven under our belt and another 25 in motion."

White says the ethanol branding program has benefits for everyone, including individual retailers who in many cases are making less than a penny a gallon on gasoline sales.

"This is something that's free to them -- the labels, the shipping, point of sale materials and our national program -- all tie consumers back to their individual station and their individual pumps," White said.

After the labels are approved by the states with the right size and shape requirements, getting retailers to put them on their pumps becomes a grassroots effort, according to Mark Lambert with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.

"We're going to start changing out those stickers in the next month or so," said Lambert. "Over the summer months, it's going to be a great project for county Farm Bureaus and corn grower organizations. They're going to go out to their local stations and get these on the pumps."

Lambert says interest in ethanol is extremely high right now and having a consistent brand at fueling stations will help raise the visibility of the fuel with consumers.

"Right now every state has different regulations, the stickers all look different - that's just bad marketing," said Lambert. "The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council had a wonderful idea and very simple -- let's get the same sticker everywhere, make it easy for consumers, and promote our product."

EPIC's goal is to have the branding program approved in at least half of the states by the end of this year. More information about ethanol and the branding program can be found at www.drivingethanol.org.

The Ethanol Promotion & Information Council is an alliance of ethanol producers and industry leaders who have come together to spread the word about the benefits of ethanol through information and promotional programs. EPIC is a nonprofit organization and is overseen by a nine-member board of directors.

SOURCE: EPIC via AgNewsWire.