Jim Mele


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.

2017 Fleet Owner 500 

Few outside of trucking, and even many in the industry, realize that America’s 500 largest private fleets operate 1.38 million trucks and tractors.  For-hire carriers are undoubtedly the public face of trucking as they haul the lion’s share of freight in this country, yet private fleets run the overwhelming majority of commercial vehicles on our roads as they quietly fill critical support roles for all types of businesses.

Numbers don't lie 

Anecdote and impressions are tough to beat when it comes to perception.  We humans are just intuitively drawn to stories and images.  But sometimes they don’t tell the whole story, and on occasion can even be downright misleading.

Dana unveils e-commerce platform for parts

LAS VEGAS. Fleets and other maintenance providers can identify drivetrain replacement parts, check real-time inventory availability, find distributors and request quotes through a new e-commerce platform introduced by Dana Inc. Authorized Dana distributors can also access a secure version of the new online tool to obtain prices, respond to quote requests and track shipping, company officials said during a press conference at Heavy-duty Aftermarket Week.

Eaton clutches revised for downspeeding

LAS VEGAS.  The newest generation of the Advantage Series heavy-duty clutches from Eaton have received a number of design upgrades intended to improve performance in low-RPM downspeeding applications as well as provide better shift performance, reduce vibration and chatter, and make it easier to monitor clutch wear.

Sustained slow growth ahead for economy and trucking

LAS VEGAS. While “no one knows what the new administration will mean for the economy and growth,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is sticking with its pre-presidential-election view that the economy will grow a bit better in 2017, though that growth won’t be substantial.

“We haven’t altered our forecast materially, but we do see an upside risk in economic growth,” said Chicago Fed sr. economist and economic advisor Bill Strauss. “There’s a better chance of it being stronger than of it being weaker.”

A happy accident 
I’m very happy that after a distinguished career revolving around trucking, my long-time friend and colleague Wendy Leavitt is moving into a new stage where she can spend more time enjoying her family and non-trucking passions. Some might call it retirement, but in Wendy’s case that term just doesn’t fit her energetic and enthusiastic engagement over nearly four decades with an industry and its people that she clearly loves.
Mexico truck market keeps growing

PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO.  For the third year in a row, the Mexican Class 8 truck market will show double digit growth, beating 2015 sales by 20% if it hits the projected 26,000 units, according to Stefan Kurschner, president and CEO of Daimler Commercial Vehicles Mexico. Overall Class 4-8 truck sales are expected to near 33,000 units for an 18% increase over last year.

Petro-Canada releases new CK-4 and FA-4 diesel oils 1

TORONTO. On the first official day for the American Petroleum Institute’s two new heavy-duty diesel engine oil classifications, Petro-Canada Lubricants has launched a full product line of CK-4 and FA-4 oils. The Duron Next Generation lubes “are the culmination of three years of hard work,” according to Eric Attias, Petro-Canada’s dir. of marketing and R&D, and will completely replace the company’s CJ-4 Duron-E lineup.

US Xpress testing real-world fuel economy

Using six linehaul tractors taken out of regular service plus two pre-production new models provided by manufacturers, truckload carrier US Xpress is just concluding three days of fuel-economy testing on public roads.  The PIT Group, a Canadian-based organization created to conduct unbiased efficiency testing, the project is intended to help US Xpress and other fleets associated with PIT identify the most fuel-efficient powertrain combinations available, according to Yves Provencher, PIT group manager.

Intelligent dispatch, compliance added by Telogis

DANA POINT, CA.  Telogis announced that its mobile resource management (MRM) software platform is rolling out a number of new features that exploit deep learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence technologies.

Verizon: IoT, security, global reach will transform MRM
DANA POINT, CA. With over 20 years of experience in vehicle telematics, Verizon sees “a dramatic transformation” coming in mobile resource management driven by new technologies, according to Andres Irlando, CEO of Verizon Telematics.
Navistar’s Clarke: Trucks will drive logistics

Within the next decade every truck will be “a connected truck,” and from there “it’s a short next step to integrating trucks into logistics systems,” according to Troy Clarke, president and CEO of Navistar.  “Asset utilization is a big deal,” said Clarke, who comes to that perspective from years of running manufacturing operations.  “You have to use your assets every minute possible to generate revenue in a plant, and I look at trucks the same way.”

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