Oakland CA Bad Gas....
Thought I'd put this out there as half word of warning, half request for ideas...
Recently returned to CA for the summer, had about half a tank after ~1100 mile road trip. Decided that since the Saudi's and the Russians were bickering over oil, I'd go and buy some gas for ~2.80/gal before it shot back up to the usual $4-5/gallon here in CA. Drove three miles home, and earlier today decided to make a run to the hardware store, literally one mile up the freeway and one mile back (I have less than 6 miles on this tank).
Getting out of the driveway, I didn't leave the front of my house and the van stalled and died in the middle of the street (Somewhat foolishly, hindsight 20/20) my passenger and I decided that was a fluke and decided to get on the freeway anyways. Several surges getting up to speed, and the occasional flutter on the freeway, but it didn't stall on the freeway. Got off the freeway, stalled for the second time at the second stop sign I came to. Ended up driving home. Getting on the freeway, everything was normal. 15-65 was buttery smooth, no hiccups. Transmission even seemed to shift smoother than it ordinarily does. It didn't stall on the way back, but did have some sputtering/surging.
About the van: I came back from Bozeman about a month ago- the van ran without a sputter or hiccup from 6 in the morning to 10 at night doing anywhere from 55 to short stints of 85+ in the middle of absolutely nowhere (Nevada). Van starts fine anywhere from -25* to 110*+. Despite all problems 5.4L's are known to have, this van has escaped all of them (knock on wood...). Checked the battery connection, oil, etc... Everything normal.
Currently parked on the front street, and I'm thinking I'm probably going to have to siphon what I can out of the gas tank and drop it/refuel it unless I can pinpoint an obvious fuel-related problem (Fuel filter?).
TL;DR: Pretty sure I've got bad gas- you get what you pay for. Avoid the Mobil "Grand Fuel & Auto Care" Gas Station on Grand Ave by Lake Meritt in Oakland CA.
Edit: Went the "easiest options first" route, tried gas additives. At time of writing, it seems that things are "back to normal", albeit i can definitely feel a much more sluggish response. I think I'll have to find some boring freeway trips to do with it and periodically fill up with the 'good stuff' in hopes of having things balance out.
And.... for how cheap it is, probably good to have a bottle or two of additive laying around in the truck with a spare quart or two of oil for when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with bad gas/low oil.
1997 Quigley E-250