Jim Mele

Editor-in-chief

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

Articles by Jim Mele
It's a tough life -- Durability testing the 2015 Ford F150

Durability testing for the next-generation F150 pickup and the all-new EcoBoost 2.7L engine reached new levels of toughness as Ford rolled up some 10 million miles in labs, dynamometers and the real-world. A visit to the Dearborn Research and Innovation Center highlighted some of those test procedures and results.

It's a tough life

DEARBORN, MI. Ford has a lot riding on the success of its next generation F150 pickup. Routinely grabbing best-selling vehicle honors, the F150 is a storied and extremely successful brand, and even minor changes are big news to its many fans. But with the all-new 2015 truck, Ford has chosen to forego caution, introducing major innovations that include an all-aluminum body and a completely new 2.7-liter V6 engine.

Green Fleet of the Year: Saddle Creek Transportation 

For many fleets, the possibility of switching from diesel to natural gas is intriguing, and in some specialized applications like refuse collection, natural gas-powered trucks are already common.  For most trucking operations though, especially ones involving Class 8 payloads and long distances, natural gas is still a question mark.  It is an alternative fuel that seems to have great potential for improving both operating costs and environmental sustainability, but one that has yet to prove its viability as an everyday fuel for a working fleet.  The response has been a large

Rules are rules 

It’s common at industry gatherings to hear people talk about the flood of recent regulation facing trucking operations, but when you step back and take a look at all the new rules on the books, it can still be something of a shock.  And based on last month’s activity in Washington, the pace is not letting up.

Daimler’s Bernhard: Diesel is the alternative fuel

The wave of interest in natural gas for heavy-duty transportation is beginning to break, and the industry has begun to understand its limitations, the head of Daimler’s global truck and bus business said March 28. “I am convinced that a highly efficient diesel engine will remain the most important alternative in the United States,” said Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard in a speech to the annual Heavy Duty Manufacturers Assn. breakfast at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

Volvo underestimated GHG2014 engine fuel efficiency

LOUISVILLE, KY. Compared to the company’s 2013 engines, new Volvo Trucks heavy-duty diesels certified as meeting 2014 federal greenhouse gas emissions standards are delivering up to a 3% improvement in fuel economy, according to the company. That increase is 1% higher than originally indicated by testing, according to Goran Nyberg, Volvo Trucks president of North American sales and marketing.

Bendix bullish on 2014 and beyond

LOUISVILLE, KY.  Predicting “a fairly robust ramp up” in truck sales this year,  Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems president and CEO Joe McAleese expects Class 8 production in the NAFTA market to grow 15% this year “and another 5 to 15% in 2015.” Medium-duty Class 6 and 7 production should also follow a similar growth path, he said during a press conference at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Routing goodies 

Company: Goody Goody Liquors, Dallas, TX

Operation: Private fleet distributing wholesale alcohol products to bars and
restaurants from four warehouses

Problem:

High stakes 

Highway funding isn’t a topic that’ll make you the life of the party. Even though your livelihood is directly tied to functioning roads and bridges, it takes a conscious effort to dig into anything addressing the topic of maintaining a healthy transportation infrastructure.  That term alone is enough to bring your head crashing down on your desk. 

Daimler optimistic after strong January truck orders
LOS CABOS, MEXICO. One month does not make a trend, but exceptionally strong new truck orders in January are "very encouraging," according to David Hames, GM of marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America.
The 2014 Fleet Owner 500 

Much like the overall economy, status quo is the overriding theme for our 10th annual Fleet Owner 500 ranking of the top private fleets in the U.S. Just like America’s sputtering economic growth in 2012, there’s little change from last year in the rankings and equipment totals among the country’s largest private fleets.

Staying strong 

A private fleet’s trucks come in many sizes and configurations, filling roles that range from distributing products to delivering services.  It’s the tractor-trailer keeping a plant’s supply chain full and the van carrying the cable guy and his tools.  It’s the mixer at the construction site and the packer circling neighborhood streets.  It’s the bucket truck restoring power after the storm and the tanker bringing you heating oil.  And there are a lot of them, with private fleets accounting for roughly three-quarters of all commercial trucks

Meritor launches training by truck

LAS VEGAS. Fitted with tools, working displays and other educational aids, two dedicated mobile training units will make a five-city tour later this year to train both maintenance executives and technicians on critical brake system components, according to Meritor Inc. The trucks are part of a new push by the company’s Aftermarket business to educate customers on what they say are critical brake and tire issues coming under more intense scrutiny with the federal compliance and safety accountability (CSA) program.

Fleets will buy more trucks, parts in 2014

LAS VEGAS. Calling his forecast “reasonably bullish,” economist Stu MacKay doesn’t believe fleets will add capacity this year, “but they are at the point where they do have to replace stuff.”

Trucking forecast a good one

LAS VEGAS. Trucking’s economic activity should continue recording sustained growth through this year as the overall economy continues its expansion, according to Dr. Bob Dieli, president and founder of RDLB Inc., an economic research and consulting firm. While admitting “they call them surprises for a reason,” Dieli reassured a group of industry suppliers that “the risks of a recession are quite low, especially in the near future.”

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