Ethanol is produced two ways: fermentation of sugars by yeast (as in beer, wine, spirits) and through petrochemical distillation. Ethanol that is consumed in beverages is highly taxed (about $28/gallon), but the taxes can be avoided if 1) the end user has a TTB permit (for R&D) or if the material is denatured (unfit to drink).
The primary source of ethanol in the US is produced via corn sugar fermentation. This means that the price of ethanol is heavily dependent upon weather in the Midwest and fertilizer costs/availability. Approximately 50% of the ethanol consumed in the US goes to the gas industry as a fuel additive.
Up Stream Materials/Building Blocks:
Carbohydrates (corn, sugar cane, cellulose)
Crude oil (distillation to produce synthetic ethanol)
Down Stream Materials Consuming Ethanol:
Personal care products (mouthwashes, perfumes and deodorants)