Has the type of driving the vehicle is doing changed between the 400 miles/tank and the 250 miles/tank results? For example, if you go from substantially averaging say 35-40 miles per hour, to spending a lot of time stopped in traffic, your mileage will drastically reduce. Is the mileage better if you do a longish highway trip? Have the brakes recently been fixed - if so, are they binding? To check, take the vehicle for a 10-mile drive on the highway where you don't have to brake. Get off at a rest stop and try to slow using transmission. Get out, check the brakes to see if one or more is really hot. If it is, it is probably binding. Alternatively, have your mechanic put the vehicle on a hoist to see if the wheels are rolling freely. Might also be a bad wheel bearing - although you would likely hear that grinding. Hope that helps.
Bad gasoline will cause the 460 motor in my 1982 E350 to vapor lock on a hot day. I don't buy gas at super cheap off-brand stations to avoid this but once in a while I will get tankful that makes the van run terribly and sometimes vapor lock. Adding octane booster or Heet water remover to the gas usually helps to burn more smoothly through the bad tankful.
Sticking valves are caused by: Carbon or sludge build-up, weak valve springs, bent pushrods on non-ohc (older)engines. If you take the car to a decent garage, he'll do a compression test to determine which cylinders are sticking, if any. Then he'll start doing expensive things. OR: You can buy a can of engine cleaner and follow the directions. I use Seafoam because I already read the directions and because it works well. It won't affect your sensors but if your engine is real dirty it may take more than one tankful of gas to get it clean. If it's that dirty the shame on you.
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