In January the Quest received a new gas tank and pump, part of a service bulletin that remedied fuel not being reachable when the tank was below a quarter full and the van was parked on an incline. So in March when I took my wife and son up to Santa Cruz, I figured all the fuel problems were a thing of the past. Turns out, maybe not. (Now, let me first say that the following could -- and probably is -- mostly my fault.)

Before we departed Los Angeles, I filled up the Quest's 20-gallon tank and the range indicator told me I had 430 miles until empty. With Santa Cruz about 350 miles away, I assumed we could easily make it on one tank. But about five hours later and roughly 30 miles from our Best Western destination, the range, which two seconds prior had indicated 50 miles, was now showing "--" -- as in no range at all. It was around 10 pm, totally dark out, and there was no one around. Uh-oh.

Then on a downhill section, I felt the engine miss and immediately thought we were in for it - or at least, I was in for it. "How could you let this happen?" I could hear my wife saying. Sure enough, on the subsequent uphill section, the Quest died. "How could you let this happen?" she said. "It was telling me I had plenty of range and then all of sudden it changed its mind," I replied. She wasn't buying it.

After a couple failed restarts, the Quest fired back up and I gingerly coaxed it up the hill and in search of the closest gas station. "There's a 76 a mile away," my wife said as she stared at her iPhone. I thought about searching via the nav system as well, but figured I was better off focusing on driving. As we pulled off the highway and then made a left, there it was - the 76 station. Just one problem: it was closed. At this point, I thought a call to AAA was inevitable. While my wife searched again for a gas station, I shut off the Quest in hopes I could save every vital drop. A minute later, we were rolling again (see, those drops counted) and another mile later, we found the least likely savior - a Safeway grocery store with, of all things, a gas station.

I filled up the Quest -- it took 16.247 gallons, by the way - let it out a sigh of relief, and then looked at my three-year-old son who had slept through the entire ordeal. Lucky, I thought.


Our Car
Service life 10 months/30,595 miles
Average fuel economy 19.5 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.99 lb/mi
Energy consumption 173 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $425.23 (3 x oi change, tire rotation, inspection; 1 x replace cabin air filter)
Normal-wear cost $720.00 (4 Toyo tires)