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.

Enough already 

Are you tired of hearing about the highway bill?  I know I am.  As Albert Einstein so famously put it, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  By that definition, Congress’ approach to funding highway infrastructure investment is truly insane.

Tweet confirms Mercedes-Benz mid-sized Vito van coming to US

Unveiled in Germany earlier this week, an all-new Vito mid-sized commercial van will be coming to North America, according to what appears to be a direct message from Daimler Truck and Bus.  Responding to a Tweet from Fleet Owner asking if the Vito might be headed to the U.S.,  @Daimler_CV (Daimler Truck & Bus) replied: “yes we are bringing the #mbvito to North America. Stay tuned for more!!”

“Uber for trucks” or loadboard?
Cargomatic, a technology company in Southern California has started what L.A.Biz describes as “an Uber-like platform that connects local shippers with small trucking companies.
Roadside inspections on the fly 

Bypassing weigh stations and paying tolls without stopping are common everyday experiences for many fleet trucks, but what if that same “no-touch” experience could be extended to roadside inspections?  The technology already exists that could satisfy federal standards for basic credential checks, and automating that process could offer major benefits for well-run fleets.  But before e-inspections become as widespread as bypass systems, there are important policy issues that have to be faced by both trucking businesses and regulators.

A great run 

After a wonderful 38-year career, Tom Duncan is leaving the Fleet Owner family.

In June of 1978, Tom Duncan joined Fleet Owner as an associate editor.  This June he retired as vice president/group publisher of Penton’s Automotive and Trucking Group, which in addition to Fleet Owner, includes Ward’s Auto, FleetSeek, Trailer Body Builders, Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter.

Buffalo lawyer goes to bat for truckers

Michael Perley of the law firm

Report helps fleets choose idle reduction systems
Trucking Efficiency is offering an unbiased report and online tool to help fleets choose the right idle reduction system for their Class 8 tractors and operations.
Ram launches small commercial van
Ram Trucks has officially unveiled its newest entry in the commercial van market, the Class 1 Ram ProMaster City. Initial delivery of the 2015 model through Ram’s commercial dealer network is expected to begin in the fourth quarter.
2015 Ram ProMaster City offically launched

After last year's launch of the full-sized ProMaster Cargo van, Ram Truck is extending its commercial van lineup with the Class 1 ProMaster City.  Based on the front-wheel drive Fiat Doblo, the North American version is powered by Chrysler's new 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cyl. gasoline engine mated to the first 9-speed automatic transmission in a commercial van. With a 122.4-in wheelbase, it has a payload of 1,833 lbs. and a maximum cargo volume of 131.7 cu. ft.  The first deliveries are scheduled for the fourth quarter.

Kenworth Advantage hits the road
Kicking off a three-month road tour that will take it to 36 U.S. and Canadian dealerships, one of the first Kenworth T680 Advantage tractors built at the company’s Chillicothe, OH, truck plant was the star of an eight-truck ride and drive event staged for the press.
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

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