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Horses to horsepower

Cover Story

Jacobus Energy grows, diversifies with the help of Freightliner trucks


By Jennifer Edwards


When Jacobus Energy was founded in 1919, refueling meant keeping the company’s main transportation sources full of hay and oats. Back then, the company consisted of five employees and two teams of horses who hauled coal, animal feed and building supplies, among other products, to customers in the Midwest.

Eighty-six years later, Jacobus is still supplying customers with the materials and products they need, only now they do it with reliable and efficient Freightliner Business Class M2s. Jacobus drivers have been using both single- and tandem-axle models of the Business Class M2 106 and 112 models.

“We’ve been buying Freightliner trucks since 1998,” said Art Hoff, truck buyer for Jacobus Energy, headquartered near Milwaukee, Wis. “The vehicles have performed very well for us. They’re more than adequate for our needs and they are a really good value.”

“The Business Class M2 product line is designed to provide commercial truck operators with unprecedented advantages in productivity and operational efficiency,” said Mark Lampert, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Freightliner.

Jacobus Energy has a 150-truck fleet that services three business divisions: Quickflash home heating and cooling services; Jacobus Environmental, an oil-recycling business that collects, tests and recycles used oil, oily water, used antifreeze, oil filters and absorbents; and Quick Fuel, a two-pronged service supplying fuel to truckers at 51 sites throughout the Midwestern and southern regions of the United States, and mobile refueling where the Freightliners deliver fuel directly to customers from Miami to Milwaukee.

Hoff has earmarked the bulk of the Freightliner Business Class M2 purchases for Quick Fuel’s mobile refueling service. As the fastest growing segment of the company, this mobile service delivers fuel to customer trucks during downtimes on the job or at night. In addition, Quick Fuel drivers deliver fuel to construction sites, temporary fuel tanks, businesses and boats. Jacobus’ biggest customers are shipping companies: freight-haulers, beverage and food distributors, and utility companies.

Hoff likes the fact that Freightliner trucks can be configured to the unique needs of petroleum hauling and delivery.

“We do look at other manufacturers,” Hoff said. But what influences his decision is the equipment available on the truck models. “It comes down to the various components that make it suitable for us, like the driveline components.”

In addition to the configuration advantages, the Business Class M2 106 and 112 vehicles feature a clean back of cab offering easier body installation, which Hoff appreciates. He sees this as another advantage to purchasing Freightliner vehicles for his line of business.

“It’s not like taking a van body and installing it on a chassis. There are aspects of petroleum products that you have to take into account when you install a tank,” he said.

Jacobus utilizes bodies from a variety of manufacturers, including Boston Steel, Polar Tank Trailer and Almac. Some are purchased new and some are purchased through acquisitions. In this case, tanks are removed from the existing chassis and fitted onto the Freightliner Business Class M2s.
Jacobus drivers like with the way the Business Class M2 trucks perform. A big plus, Hoff said, is with fuel deliveries.

“The M2s offer great maneuverability to get around job sites easily. The trucks also offer easy entry and exit of the cab, which is important for our drivers who do that multiple times a day,” Hoff said.

A focal point of Jacobus Energy’s business practices is offering time-efficient
solutions to its customers.

“We’re finding that many trucking fleets want their drivers to spend most of their time on the road making deliveries, rather than waiting in line to fuel at a retail station,” said Shelley Brannan, Jacobus Energy’s marketing manager. “Increased efficiency and optimal use of time are key benefits to our mobile-refueling customers.”

Brannan noted their mobile refueling costs, while slightly higher than filling up at a gasoline station, are easily outweighed by the time saved.

“At a crowded retail facility, fueling can easily take 45 minutes or more, which really eats away at profitability,” she said.

But mobile refueling wouldn’t be cost-effective for Jacobus Energy if its operating costs were too high.

“It’s critical that we operate as efficiently as possible,” Hoff said. “That means efficient routing, computerized vehicles, skilled drivers and reliable trucks that we can count on, like Freightliner Business Class M2s.”


Jennifer Edwards is a public relations specialist for Freightliner LLC, Portland, Ore. She can be reached at (503) 745-8967 or jenniferedwards@freightliner.com.

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