Brian Straight

Managing Editor

Brian joined Fleet Owner in May 2008 after spending nearly 14 years as sports editor and then managing editor of several daily newspapers.  He and his staff  won more than two dozen major writing and editing awards. Responsible for editing, editorial production functions and deadlines.

Fit for a Sultan: Mack builds the world's most expensive truck ever

Mack Trucks has a long history. And now it has made history.

The North American OEM’s Australian branch has built what it says is the world’s most expensive big rig, eclipsing a $481,000 model built in the U.S. While Mack Trucks Australia will not say specifically how much this custom rig cost, it did provide a few details, such as who would order such an expensive, customized ride, and why?

The answer: Malaysia’s Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor.

Weather watch 

Company: Transport America, Eagan, MN

Operation: Truckload operation provides freight services for retail and industrial customers as well as logistics services throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada and Mexico.


Tips to live by 

Recently, the Dept. of Transportation announced an initiative to improve the truck parking situation in the U.S. It’s about time.

I’m sure I don’t need to spend time explaining the need for additional, and safer, parking to the industry. But for some reason, that need must be explained to government leaders. We ask drivers to spend days, weeks, even months out on the road and yet, as a society, we can’t come up with a solution to keep them safe.

Fleet refresh 

Hauling dry vans down the highway offers plenty of opportunity to reduce fuel usage. But if your cargo is something less boxy, say auto­mobiles, your aerodynamic options are more limited.
That’s the predicament in which Toyota Transport, part of Toyota Logistics Services, found itself. The fleet, with about 120 drivers and 91 tractors, moves Toyota, Lexus and Scion automobiles for Toyota Motor Corp. throughout the West Coast (it is on pace to transport 400,000 vehicles this year) from locations in Southern and Northern California; Portland, OR; and Phoenix, AZ.

Inside the building of Yokohama Tire’s Mississippi commercial tire plant

Yokohama Tire has opened its first new U.S. based commercial tire manufacturing facility in West Point, MS. The plant, which cost $300 million to build, will eventually produce 1 million tires annually and employ as many as 2,000. The hope is that the majority of commercial tires sold in North America will eventually be manufacturing in Mississippi.

For more on the plant opening, go to:

Yokohama takes wraps off Mississippi’s star

WEST POINT, MS. Calling it the “star of the automotive universe in Mississippi,” Gov. Phil Bryant praised executives of Yokohama Tire Corp. and its subsidiary, Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi, last night at a press briefing ahead of the formal grand opening of the tire maker’s first new U.S. plant.

Navistar's Kozek: Deal strengthens International, expands GM portfolio

The announcement of a joint development project between Navistar and General Motors will lead to a new Class 4-5 truck platform that will fill a gap in GM’s commercial vehicle lineup and serve as a replacement for Navistar’s International TerraStar model.

Riding the WAVE to fuel-saving heaven

Back in 2014, a heavy-duty tractor-trailer operated by a microturbine was just one of the many ideas engineers dream of at night. Sure, it was an actual vehicle, shown at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show. But like many concept vehicles, it seemed more like a vehicle to drive technological development in other areas.

Groups opposing heavier trucks have their say

Opposition is ramping up its efforts to block efforts to boost the federal weight limit on Interstate highways to 91,000 lbs.

Battle of the brands 

As major tire manufacturers reintroduce once-prominent brands in the quest to gain market share, compete with offshore entities, and meet fleet needs for both cost-efficient and fuel-efficient tires, fleets have more choices than ever before, but is that a good development?

GO propane, GO green 

For anyone who spends time getting to and from Chicago area airports, there is a chance you have been transported at some point by GO Airport Express. Founded in 1853 as a carriage service between train lines, the company now provides transportation services at O’Hare and Midway Airports.

GO Airport Express is now part of a large network of transportation providers offering services to more than 100 airports worldwide. In Chicago, the company operates 120 vehicles, making many short runs from the airports to downtown hotels in the Windy City.

The future of fuel economy: Taking the next step  1

Back in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency kicked off the first steps of its long-term plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from commercial vehicles. Phase 1 of the greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards were for model-year 2014-2018 vehicles. The California Air Resources Board estimated the first phase would save $8.5 billion in fuel costs and 5 billion gals. of diesel fuel nationally by 2020.

The future of fuel economy: Finding an edge 

The inclusion of trailers in the next round of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards jointly announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is adding a layer of complexity for everyone involved in meeting the new standards.

And that includes fleet executives, who will be responsible for finding the money to pay for equipment and, quite possibly, new technologies needed to meet the Phase 2 standards, which will generally result in a 24% reduction in carbon dioxide and fuel consumption of tractor-trailers.

“The trucks are killing us.” Not so, says ATA’s Bill Graves 1

Responding to what it said is the “latest in a series of baseless and defamatory editorials, letters and columns published by” The New York Times on Saturday, Aug. 22, American Trucking Assns. (ATA) President & CEO Bill Graves lashed out at “several falsehoods, both implied and intentional” in an op-ed submitted to the Times.

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