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.

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.

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


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. 

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