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.

Western Star adds an aero highway tractor
LAS VEGAS. Best known for its vocational and heavy-haul Class 8 models, Western Star Trucks is expanding into the aerodynamic on-highway market with an all-new model.
Western Star 5700XE, an all-new aerodynamic on-highway tractor

Western Star is expanding its model lineup with the all--new 5700XE, a highly aerodynamic Class 8 on-highway tractor that combines a Detroit powertrain from its parent Daimler Trucks North America with distinctive styling that favors hard edges over the rounded contours of other aero tractors.

Just the beginning 

Five years ago, the entire U.S. economy hit a painful low point in what has come to be known in retrospect as “The Great Recession.”  In trucking, business failures rose to over 3,000 fleets and new-truck purchases hit record lows.  As you’ve heard every day in the mainstream news outlets, the recovery has been slow, and there have been lots of nervous glances over our shoulders looking for the first signs that we’re slipping back into that dark economic environment.

Trucking by the numbers 2014 

Graphs, charts and other data capture the industry’s central role in the country’s economic activity and health.

Portal to efficiency 

Company: Oakley Trucking Inc.,
No. Little Rock, AR

Operation: Large dry-bulk truckload fleet with all owner-operator drivers


Oakley Trucking provides irregular-route dry-bulk services throughout the contiguous 48 states and Canada with a fleet of 620 specialized pneumatic, end-dump and hopper-bottom trailers.  All of its trailers are pulled by owner-operators whose tractors are modified to handle hydraulic systems.

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.
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