Ethanol is a valuable alternative to petroleum-based transportation fuels. This publication offers a brief and non-technical description of how ethanol is made, explains some of its uses and advantages, discusses several common questions about ethanol, and offers suggestions for further reading. Ethanol can provide significant environmental benefits, can be produced sustainably from renewable sources, and lends itself to local and regional production. Emerging technologies that produce ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks are discussed, as well as economic opportunities for American farmers and rural communities. References and resource listings follow the narrative.