Sean Kilcarr

Executive Editor

Sean reports and comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry -- light and medium duty fleets up through over-the-road truckload, less-than-truckload, and private fleet operations Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Using civilian muscle for military maintenance

To keep 762 support vehicles up and running at Travis Air Force Base in California – everything from fire trucks to heavy-duty cargo loaders – is the duty of some 40 men and women within the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron (LRS); personnel who are almost all civilians. And those civilian mechanics – many of whom sport 10 to 15 years of experience maintaining heavy equipment – keep that ground fleet at a 92% “mission capable” rate; far higher than the Air Force standard of 80%. This is their story. (All photos by Staff Sgt.

From plastic bottles to car parts

In an effort to become a more "sustainable" vehicle manufacturer, General Motors is turning recycled plastic water bottles into car parts, air filters, and even clothing destined for homeless shelters: part of a new philosophy that increasingly views "waste" as a "resource out of place." (All photo courtesy of GM)

Chevrolet salutes the military

May is National Military Appreciation Month, so the Chevrolet division of General Motors took one of its new "Special Ops" Silverado pickup trucks down to the National Navy SEAL ('Sea, Air, Land') museum in Ft. Pierce, FL, to mark the occasion. In fact, Chevrolet plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of its new "Special Operations" custom Silverado package to benefit the Navy SEAL Museum and its foundation. (All photos courtesy of GM)

Increases continue for fuel prices

Diesel and gasoline prices continued climbing this week across the U.S., according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), largely due to rising oil prices being spurred higher by increased demand and near-term supply worries.

The national average pump price for diesel jumped 6.8 cents this week to $2.266 per gallon, EIA noted, though that’s 58.8 cents cheaper per gallon compared to the same week in 2015.

Driven to win: Deploying game theory in trucking

On its surface, the theory of “gamification” seems a fairly straightforward one: Using game mechanics and dynamics to drive game-like engagement in a non-game context.

In trucking, for example, that can translate into setting up competitions between drivers, to see who can achieve the best fuel economy or record the lowest engine idle time.

Video makes for better drivers

Rob Arbeiter, safety director for waste hauler Custom Ecology Inc. (CEI), is exceeding blunt when it comes to describing what life is like on the road for commercial fleets: “Our drivers are in the war zone every day.”

By that he means CEI’s 767 tractors and 100 service vehicles face all sorts of tactical hazards, especially from other motorists, that can cause crashes.

Slip-seating: Can it make trucking more productive? 3

It’s long been an unspoken rule of sorts in trucking: one driver assigned to one truck, or in the case of team operations, two drivers to one truck. Only in occasional circumstances, such as routine maintenance or breakdowns, is a driver or team assigned to a different truck.

Yet Duff Swain, president of the consulting firm Trincon Group LLC, believes that mindset must change – and fast.

Mack's new 2017 powertrain

At a special "Earth Day" event held in Austin, TX, Mack Trucks showed off what it's calling the "evolution" of its integrated powertrain package, based around retooled 2017 MP series engines to boost fuel efficiency and power while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thanks to several new technologies and other enhancements, Mack said its new engines will boost fuel efficiency from 2.1% to 8.8% compared to its previous MP engine models.

DHL: Artificial intelligence will remold logistics world

Global logistics provider DHL believes worldwide supply chains are beginning to undergo a fundamental transformation as more “artificial intelligence” is deployed to handle both the domestic and international movement of goods

Will self-driving vehicles struggle for acceptance? 2

Even as the development and testing of self-driving cars and commercial trucks accelerates at a rapid pace – with regulators aiming to help speed up their deployment – there’s growing debate over whether the motoring public and fleets will be accepting of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and, if so, how such acceptance could ultimately alter the shape of future transportation networks.

Trucks, tanks, and more

The National Museum of the Marine Corps - situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA, and under the command of the Marine Corps University - not only chronicles the long, storied history of the Leathernecks, but also displays the wide assortment of equipment taken into battle by Marines down through the years; including trucks. (Photos by Sean Kilcarr/Fleet Owner)

Ford offers new police vehicle options

A special service vehicle package for the 2016 model F-150 pickup alongside a new “stealth” light bar setup are just two of the latest options Ford Motor Co. is rolling out for law enforcement agencies. (All photos courtesy of Ford Motor Co.)

EIA: Fuel prices back on an upward march

The national average retail price for both diesel and gasoline increased this week, according to data tracked by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), even as U.S. domestic energy production continues to knock back petroleum imports.

Diesel jumped 3.7 cents this week to a national average of $2.165 per gallon, EIA noted, though that is 61.5 cents per gallon cheaper compared to the same week in 2015.

Bringing 3D Printing to the Battlefront

Three dimensional or “3D” printing is viewed as both a threat and a boon in many corners of the trucking industry. The U.S. Marine Corps, however, thinks 3D printing could become a key support tool on the battlefield to keep critical equipment – from tanks on down to rifles – functioning.

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