Josh Fisher | FleetOwner
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Roeth: Thankful for trucking's progress and people

Nov. 22, 2023
This Thanksgiving, let's be thankful for what the trucking industry provides us all and for the people, fleets, and OEMs doing the hard work to make us more efficient.

On Thanksgiving, it seemed like an appropriate time for me to express some gratitude to an industry that is pretty darn amazing and has been very good to me. Looking back over the past 13 years I have been with NACFE, I am grateful for all the positive changes the industry has made to help fleets operate more efficiently. 

OEMs are making trucks more aerodynamic right off the assembly line, manufacturers have made add-on items that help fleets get more miles from a gallon of diesel, and fleets are investing in these technologies to try to move the needle on fuel economy closer to 10 MPG than the national average of 6.4 MPG. Everyone is doing their part so trucks can get more miles from a gallon of diesel. As I have said before, more miles mean using less fuel, which means the truck puts fewer emissions in the air, which is part of decarbonizing.

I am also grateful we are doing the hard stuff to move to a cleaner movement of goods. The fleets already investing in battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are doing hard work. While there are a lot of benefits to moving to zero-emission trucks, these fleets face a host of challenges moving from one or two battery electric trucks to 15, 20, or more. I suppose I am not surprised some fleets are tackling these challenges, as trucking has had to do hard work in the past. This is just another time we must hunker down and get it done.

The folks who invite NACFE team members to their events also have my gratitude. Every time we speak at an industry event, I feel like we learn something new. These opportunities to be face-to-face with industry stakeholders are central to our work. While I sometimes wonder what city I am in, I am also grateful to have the chance to engage in dialogue with intelligent, passionate people.

See also: Roeth: Improving efficiency can mitigate some of trucking’s top concerns

Believe it or not, I am also grateful to the people who ask difficult questions or disagree with us. Those folks keep us on our toes and prevent us from becoming complacent. They force us to address any biases that may creep into our work and remind us of the importance of keeping an open mind and continuing to learn.

I would be remiss if I did not thank Letty Roeth, my wife of nearly 40 years. She has supported me in my work with NACFE, put up with my being on the road, and is one of NACFE’s biggest cheerleaders. She now probably knows more about the trucking industry than she ever imagined. Heck, at a recent Women in Trucking Accelerate conference, she even helped set up and take down the NACFE booth.

I hope that this Thanksgiving, you will take a moment to reflect on the things you are grateful for and that you will count your relationship with NACFE among them. As for me, I plan to eat some turkey and root for my Ohio State Buckeyes to beat Michigan and for my Cincinnati Bengals to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers!

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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