DST: Friend or Foe?

DST: It’s That Time Again

Daylight Saving Time (DST). It is that time once again when we set our clocks ahead one hour just to turn them back again in eight months. But what exactly is the purpose of DST? We cannot store up daylight to tap into during the long winter months, and we certainly cannot save time for a rainy day. So why do it?

The overall purpose of DST is and has always been energy conservation. The beginnings of modern DST can be traced back to 1908 when certain areas of Canada began to turn clocks ahead to take advantage of longer daylight working hours. Germany was the first country to implement DST in 1916. Other European countries soon followed. It is easy to surmise the benefits, as WWI was raging in Europe at the time. In 1918 President Woodrow Wilson made DST a law in the United States to support the war effort. President Franklin D. Roosevelt instated year-round DST in 1942 due to WWII. The year-round “War Time” remained in effect until the war ended.

From 1945 to 1966 the US wandered around in time zone limbo. Can you imagine the confusion this caused travelers? As a result, Congress passed the US Uniform Time Act of 1966 with DST beginning on the last Sunday in April in ending the last Sunday in October. But still, individual states could choose to pass an ordinance to remain exempt from DST.

After the oil embargo in 1973, Congress extended DST to ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975 to conserve energy. It is estimated that this initiative resulted in a savings of 10,000 barrels of oil per day in energy usage. The US finally settled on a seven-month period of DST observance that lasted until the current schedule began in 2007. The current US schedule with DST beginning the second Sunday in March and ending the first Sunday in November is the result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Currently, two states, Hawaii and Arizona (most areas) remain exempt from DST. Other states are considering whether to keep it or do away with it.

So in case you were wondering if DST was designed just to torture those of us who are not morning people, now you know. I happen to love DST. I won’t like waking up in the dark again for the next few weeks, but I love the “extra” hours of light. I could probably live without DST, but I might have to move to Hawaii.

My grandfather never fully embraced DST. He never changed the time on his wristwatch. If you asked him the time, he would give you two answers: one in “fast time” and the other “by the sun.”

What is your opinion of DST?

For more detailed information on DST in the US and around the world, visit https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/history.html.