Mesilla Valley Transportation
Royal Jones, Owner of Mesilla Valley Transportation
- “Our trucks are averaging 8.6 miles-per-gallon. For us, fuel economy is the one variable we can tweak to reduce our operating costs.”
- “I have to provide service for my customers, and I can’t do that if the engines don’t perform. Our drivers say Navistar’s engine is quiet and smooth and it has plenty of power.”
- “We do a lot of runs where we’re maxxed out at 47,000 pounds. A lighter truck makes my customers happy.”
Fuel Economy and Performance Help Mesilla Valley Transportation Deliver Big-Time for Its Customers — and Its Drivers
Confidence means everything in the trucking business, and ever since switching his entire fleet to International in 2002, Mesilla Valley Transportation owner Royal Jones has been a firm believer in the truck maker. In fact, a year later, he purchased his local dealership in El Paso, Texas. Today, Jones is both a proud user and proud seller of International vehicles.
Jones, 59, entered the industry as a teenager, purchasing his first trucks at age 19 to ship cattle throughout Texas. By the early 1990s, he’d expanded to a few hundred trucks and ultimately grew Mesilla Valley Transportation into a diverse on-highway operation.
Along the way, he decided the best way to improve efficiencies was to run a single type of truck, the International 9900i. Then, in 2008, Jones made the change to the new International ProStar®+. He hasn’t looked back since.
Currently, the Mesilla Valley fleet features nearly 1,000 ProStar+ trucks powered by Navistar’s 13 liter engine. As a longtime advocate for maximizing fuel efficiency in his rigs, he appreciates the many ways the trucks help him control fuel costs. “We look at the fuel mileage of every truck,” he says. “Because, for us, that’s the one variable we can tweak to reduce our operating costs.”
With routes that extend from the Texas-Mexico border up to the Midwest and through to the Rocky Mountains, Mesilla Valley needs trucks that bring both power and fuel efficiency. And Navistar’s engine is paying off on both counts, pushing the trucks up challenging mountain grades while still averaging 8.6 miles per gallon—nearly two miles-per-gallon better than the industry average.
“I have to provide service for my customers, and I can’t do that if the engines don’t perform,” Jones says. “Our drivers say it’s quiet and smooth and it has plenty of power. Our people are really happy with it. So far, these engines kick butt.”
Among the other factors making a difference for Mesilla Valley are changes to the ProStar+ chassis that, along with the lighter 13-liter engine, shed significant weight from the package, Jones says. The truck’s weight savings has certainly brought smiles to the faces of his customers, which range from beer distributors to paper companies and everything in between.
“We do a lot of runs where we’re maxed out at 47,000 pounds,” Jones says. “[A lighter truck] makes my customers happy. For example, we haul a lot of beer. And [major brewers] have target weights they want you at. A lighter truck means we can haul more for them per trip. Plus, our customers can run greener; if they can haul 10% more beer on every trip, after ten trips they’ve saved a whole load. That’s one less truck on the highway burning fuel.”
Jose Figueroa, Mesilla Valley’s driver safety and training manager, also credits the truck’s stellar aerodynamics—especially the design of the fairings, bumper and dome—for the excellent fuel economy.
Along with the commitment to quality equipment, Mesilla Valley employs a highly effective driver training program that provides bigtime rewards to employees who commit themselves to fuel savings by reducing idling and driving slow and steady. “You can’t get great fuel mileage if you’re always idling. The two go hand-in-hand,” says Jones.
How’s this for motivation: Every quarter, the fleet’s top miles-pergallon performer gets the keys to a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Plus, Jones provides multiple levels of cash awards to drivers all year long, culminating with a $25,000 annual prize.
In 2012, veteran driver Andre Ladonna Barrett won both the Harley and the top prize by averaging a jaw-dropping 11.66 milesper-gallon over 35,000 miles in Q4, and 10.4 miles-per-gallon over 154,000 miles for the year. “I felt like I was on the Wheel of Fortune,” she says with a laugh. “It was very motivating.”
See full testimonial HERE.