Prince Charles said his blue 1970 sports car uses E85 fuel produced using a blend of 85% ethanol, food waste and 15% unleaded petrol. — dpa
LONDON: British heir to the throne Prince Charles has revealed that his beloved Aston Martin DB6 drophead has been converted to run on surplus wine and cheese, prompting much ridicule on social media.
The royal told the BBC his blue 1970 sports car uses E85 fuel produced using a blend of 85% ethanol, food waste and 15% unleaded petrol – a combination that is as impractical for the common driver as it is unsustainable, according to experts.
"My old Aston Martin, which I've had for 51 years, runs on – can you believe this – surplus English white wine and whey from the cheese process," the royal told broadcaster BBC in an interview aired on Monday (Oct 11).
News of his alternative fuel was met with mockery on social media, with many Twitter users joking that they too run on wine and cheese. "I for one never have surplus wine," wrote another user.
The royal's revelation also comes at a time when British drivers are facing fuel shortages and forced to queue for hours to fill up with petrol or diesel, prompting some on social media to call this Charles' "let them eat cake" moment.
Environmentalists meanwhile say that ethanol production takes land away from food production. Growing corn for ethanol also involves large amounts of synthetic fertiliser and herbicide.
Prince Charles is a long-standing environmental campaigner and has expressed support for Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Aston Martin previously dubbed the royal's DB6 "a sustainable green machine in line with his myriad eco-friendly endeavours".
However Greg Archer, UK director of T&E, a European clean transport campaign group, has since criticised the royal use of biofuel.
"Prince Charles's quaint solution to decarbonise his Aston Martin using a high blend of bioethanol made from cheese and wine wastes should not be mistaken for a serious solution to decarbonise vehicles," Archer told the Guardian newspaper.
Ethanol is usually made from by fermenting the sugar and starch components of plant byproducts from sugarcane and grain, with yeast added. Environmentalist Archer said growing crops just for fuel usage leads to deforestation and worsens the climate crisis.