Great post and reminder for all members!
I hear you on the toxicity. Stores in NY don't carry Everclear or similar. Some state law that limits drinking alcohol to around 75% or so. Working at Cornell, it was easy to get some reagent grade ethanol from lab suppliers, though.
Having to carry large bottles around is a problem. On hikes/paddles, it was often "only" possible to get WG in quarts, or, IsoPropanol. (Unless you were willing to travel 20-30 miles.) On many trails you often settled for what the "...Small Country Town USA Hardware/Grocery does in fact stock..." More out of necessity, I found that using an alcohol stove for through hiking one of the longer trails was not possible without carrying all the fuel you needed at the start.
My initial experiments concentrated on making isopronol burn cleanly. While tiny stoves with wicks will do that, not enough heat was generated to be worth it and there was always a bit of soot. The brasslite stoves CAN burn WG. But, the soot means loss of efficiency. Later I concentrated on burning WG, since I could ALWAYS find WG. I could never to get a clean, highly efficient burn in an open stove, though.
Anyway, settling for what they have is also an excersize in planning. Else, you end up burning highly toxic stuff in open burners designed for something different. To take a specific type of burner for a week or two, then be unable to get more fuel, can ruin a hike. Even my old SVEA doesn't really care for auto gas. At least for now and the next 5 years, in the ADK's I bring WG, because I can carry an extra pound in fuel, and that is all I am sure of. (Actually, a 12 fluid oz bottle of fuel and it's weight weigh about 9-1/4oz.)
Yellow HEET, canisters, ethanol and SLX are all "iffy" at best. The simplest WG stove I know of is the old SVEA 123. Usually a 12oz pop bottle and the stove will last me about 10-14 days. (At 2-2.5 quarts water per day, bacon and eggs, trout or some type of real cooking every other day.) No, a SVEA is not a UL stove. Fuel is ALWAYS available, even if it is auto gas.
On line, you can often get anything, but, that doesn't help on the trail.