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.


Truck platooning requires more than technology 1

LONG BEACH. Platooning technology could offer a major step forward in cutting truck emissions as well as bring significant improvements to highway safety, according to a panel of researchers at the Advanced Clean Technology (ACT) Expo. While the technology is essentially ready, the panel cautioned that achieving those gains faces both regulatory and operational hurdles before platooning can begin to prove its value in real-world fleet use.

Green Fleet of the Year: Walmart

Walmart’s private fleet is not only large, with some 6,400 tractors and 61,000 trailers, but it’s also a near-perfect reflection of the giant corporation’s goals and commitment to social responsibility.  And it’s come to represent perhaps the most publicly visible strides the company has made as it pioneers meaningful corporate efforts to foster sustainability.

Vocational truck market reviving

PHOENIX.  As part of the Daimler Trucks North America family, Western Star fills two important and “very specific” product needs, according to Kelley Platt, the brand’s president. First is the heavy-duty Class 8 vocational market, which accounts for approximately one-third of the overall U.S./Canadian Class 8 retail market and roughly 75% of Western Star’s sales. The second is the premium or image-building Class 8 on-highway tractor segment which Western Star addresses with its 5700 model.

Western Star's 50th Anniversary Photo Album

PHOENIX.  Founded in Kelowna, British Columbia in 1967 as a custom truck builder for truly heavy duty logging and mining applications, Western Star celebrated it's 50th anniversary with a ride-and-drive event here in the desert to show off its entire modern lineup of on-highway tractors and vocational trucks, as well as two special trucks -- one an original 1968 Western Star that was in everyday service until 2015 and the other the newest "Spirit of the American Trucker" tour truck.

Volvo unveils new regional haul tractor
MONTREAL. Volvo Trucks North America has introduced the Volvo VNR, an all-new tractor designed specifically for regional haul applications.

I don’t know how many times I’ve written about change in this column. It’s the one constant in trucking, whether it’s driven by new technology, new regulation, new business structures and even new demographic forces. Well, I want to write about change one more time, but this time it’s a personal change, not an industry one.

A foundation technology for autonomous trucks

LOUISVILLE, KY. There are over 100,000 Bendix Wingman collision mitigation systems installed in trucks today, and if you count the company’s older Vorad warning system, the number of forward collision warning systems on the road in trucks climbs to 240,000. Last year Navistar made the Wingman Advanced system standard on its linehaul tractors, and at the Mid America Trucking Show this week both Kenworth and Peterbilt announced that they were adding the system as standard equipment on their linehaul trucks.

Peterbilt boosts 579 fuel economy by 8%

LOUISVILLE, KY.  Changes to the Peterbilt Model 579 Epiq for the 2018 model year improve fuel efficiency by 8% compared to 2017 models, according to the company. The company also announced a new warranty for its certified used truck program and availability of a new Allison automatic transmission during a press conference at the Mid America Trucking Show.

Kenworth telematics adding service management

LOUISVILLE, KY.  With over 30,000 of Class 8 trucks already equipped with Kenworth Truck Tech+ remote diagnostics capabilities, Kenworth announced that it will be integrating service management with the system, allowing fleets to manage repairs and other service events through its online portal.

Not your father’s shop 

Every March we put together an entire issue focused solely on the shop and have done so for the 32 years I’ve been at Fleet Owner.  Reading through the feature stories in this issue, it suddenly struck me that everyone has been so focused on managing some truly massive changes in the trucking industry that we sometimes forget to appreciate just how pervasive and transformative those changes have been for your maintenance operations.

Remote updates coming for Volvo trucks

NASHVILLE.  Volvo Trucks North America is adding remote update capability for all of its vehicles equipped with 2017 Volvo engines, transmissions, aftertreatment systems and other powertrain components.  The new Remote Programming service will push our powertrain software updates, which average about two a year, as well as react to fault code conditions that can be corrected with a software download.

Cummins program extends oil drains for X15

NASHVILLE. A free oil analysis program that individually tailors oil drain intervals to a fleet’s operating characteristics has been introduced by Cummins for its 2017 X15 Series heavy-duty engines. Using both actual engine performance data and oil analysis, Cummins OilGuard can safely extend those intervals out to 80,000 miles, according to Mark Ulrich, director of customer support.

TMW adds maintenance manager for smaller fleets

NASHVILLE. TMW FleetCheck is a new web-based maintenance management designed for fleets of 150 or fewer trucks that either contract maintenance to third parties or do their own. Introduced at the annual Technology and Maintenance Council meeting, the subscription product promises to help smaller fleets meet Dept. of Transportation recordkeeping requirements while improving cost control and management efficiency, according to Scott Vanselous, executive VP of TMW Systems.