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.

Trucking’s top three

I don’t think anyone will be surprised that fleet managers are interested in advanced technologies.  What I do find surprising is the three they find most intriguing according to a new study—automated transmissions, natural gas powertrains, and low-viscosity lubricants.  Collision mitigation systems, air disc brakes, prognostics, real-time dynamic navigation, and tire pressure systems follow closely behind as other technologies expected to see greater fleet adoption in the near term.

LaHood calls roads “one big pothole”

PRINCETON, NJ. “America is a big mess” when it comes to transportation and infrastructure, according to former U.S. Sec. of Transportation Ray LaHood. “Our infrastructure is probably the worst it has ever been in the history of our country – American is one big pothole,” he told fleet and other trucking industry executives at the 2014 ALK Technology Summit.

Customer experience, not technology, the key to fleet success
While “technology” is part of his title, J.B. Hunt Transport executive Richie Henderson believes that new information technology can only help the industry address its most pressing problems when fleets recognize that “experience is the new differentiator.”
Orderly growth 

Company: Good Excavating & Hauling LLC, Warsaw, IN

Operation: Small 48-state dry van, refrigerated and tank truckload carrier, as well as local dump and oversize load services


New trucks for old 

As the largest industry gathering of the year, the Mid-America Trucking Show combines lavish truck exhibits with major new product announcements and the energy of some 80,000 attendees roaming through those exhibits over three days.  It’s also the perfect venue for gauging the current state of the industry as manufacturers and their customers informally compare perceptions of how things are going and what’s ahead for trucking.  And the buzz this year in Louisville is that fleets are back in the market for new trucks, planning to buy at rates we haven’t seen since

Fleets pushing for returns on technology

Automated transmissions, natural gas powertrains and low-viscosity lubricants are the advanced technologies of highest interest to fleet managers, according to new study from Frost & Sullivan. Scheduled to be released later this week, the study also found collision mitigation systems, air disc brakes, prognostics, real-time dynamic navigation and tire pressure systems are on the fast track for fleet adoption growth.

Shippers want carriers with natural gas trucks

LONG BEACH, CA. There's a movement afoot as some major shippers are actively encouraging carriers to embrace natural gas (NG) as a way to help them meet corporate sustainability goals or lower transportation costs. And in some cases, they are offering inducements such as larger contracts, rate premiums and even on-site NG fueling sites to speed up the transition, according to a panel of shippers at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo.

Cleaner trucks are risky business

LONG BEACH, CA. Calling current efforts to promote cleaner transportation fuels and technologies “scattered and fragmented,” Denny Slagle, executive vice president of Volvo Group, said “it is risky for a manufacturer to bring new technology.

Reality check for natural gas

LONG BEACH, CA. While some applications, like refuse hauling and port drayage, have already moved to natural gas power for their trucks, long-haul operations, which are responsible for the majority of heavy-truck sales, have not moved much beyond testing and trials. However predictions that long-haul fleets are now about to ramp up adoption of NG were voiced by a number of speakers during the first day of ACT Expo 2014, a conference and show focused on alternative clean transportation.

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.

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