Daylight saving time saves as much energy as daylight, maybe less can’t save daylight by moving around the hands on your clock, of course. So daylight saving time remains as absurdly named as it ever was.

The general pointlessness of DST was the subject of a Rachel Maddow interview Friday (video below) with the author of a whole book (!) on the subject.

What’s germane here is that DST saves about as much energy as light, according to most studies.  In fact, a 2008 study found DST “may actually waste energy“:

Up until two years ago, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties set their clocks an hour ahead in the spring and an hour back in the fall. The rest stayed on standard time all year, in part because farmers resisted the prospect of having to work an extra hour in the morning dark. But many residents came to hate falling in and out of sync with businesses and residents in neighboring states and prevailed upon the Indiana Legislature to put the entire state on daylight-saving time beginning in the spring of 2006.

Indiana’s change of heart gave University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor Matthew Kotchen and Ph.D. student Laura Grant a unique way to see how the time shift affects energy use. Using more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corp., covering nearly all the households in southern Indiana for three years, they were able to compare energy consumption before and after counties began observing daylight-saving time. Readings from counties that had already adopted daylight-saving time provided a control group that helped them to adjust for changes in weather from one year to the next.

Their finding: Having the entire state switch to daylight-saving time each year, rather than stay on standard time, costs Indiana households an additional $8.6 million in electricity bills. They conclude that the reduced cost of lighting in afternoons during daylight-saving time is more than offset by the higher air-conditioning costs on hot afternoons and increased heating costs on cool mornings.

“I’ve never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this,” says Mr. Kotchen, who presented the paper at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference this month.

A 2007 study by economists Hendrik Wolff and Ryan Kellogg of the temporary extension of daylight-saving in two Australian territories for the 2000 Summer Olympics also suggested the clock change increases energy use.

The Kotchen and Grant NBER paper is here.  It concludes:

We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions that range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. Finally, we argue that the effect is likely to be even stronger in other regions of the United States….

There are nevertheless several reasons we might infer that DST increases electricity demand across a much broader area.  First, existing simulations suggest that DST increases electricity consumption on average over 224 different locations throughout the United States (Rock 1997). Our results also corroborate the results of such simulation exercises. Second, even when prior research finds little or no electricity savings from DST in the United States, the effect is smaller in more southern regions (DOE 2006). Finally, the fact that we identify the underlying tradeoff between artificial illumi- nation and primarily air-conditioning suggests that the DST effect that we estimate is likely to be even stronger in the more populated, southern regions of the Unites States. Further south, the days are shorter during the summer, meaning that decreases in electrical use from lighting are likely to be smaller, and air conditioning is more common and intensively used, meaning that increases in electricity for cooling are likely to be bigger.

In “13 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Daylight Saving Time,” U.S News notes:

Daylight saving time was first used during World War I, as part of an effort in the United States and other warring countries to conserve fuel. In theory, using daylight more efficiently saves fuel and energy because it reduces the nation’s need for artificial light.

An Australian study concluded “These results suggest that current plans and proposals to extend DST will fail to conserve energy.”

Probably the best recent case for DST is from a 2008 Department of Energy report for Congress, which found DST saved a whopping .02% of the country’s total use in 2007. But Wikipedia lists a bunch of other studies on DST, most of which (but not all) come to a similar conclusion as the Australia study.

DST’s general inanity is clear in this Rachel Maddow interview of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time:

U.S. News concludes, “When clocks spring forward, people lose sleep, have more heart attacks, and might not even save energy.”


40 Responses to Daylight saving time saves as much energy as daylight, maybe less

  1. There’s also just something weird about Congress telling you when to move the hands of your clock. I’m no libertarian, but in this case we should follow the sun.

  2. Chris Dudley says:

    DST is really a response to a Parisian problem and may not be applicable here.

  3. richard pauli says:

    Hey, I know….if we cannot change reality…let’s change how we measure reality!

    Bothered by time? No problem, change the clock face.

    Next up, gravity!

  4. mike roddy says:

    This confirms what I’ve learned in my energy management business. At least 85% of hotel room energy goes to the HVAC system, and the rest to lighting and TV combined. The HVAC is ususally turned on when the guest is out of the room, which wastes huge amounts of room energy, as much as 45%. I estimated the savings from switching to our hotel room keycard controls in Puget Sound at 43,000 tons of CO2 a year.

    The same is true for houses. Builders even now don’t pay attention to window location or passive solar heat. This costs a fortune over the lifetime of the house, not to mention wasted emissions. There are also good microprocessor controls available for houses.

    Americans are not only the most energy profligate outside of countries like Abu Dubai, we use the highest percentage of our energy for heating and cooling, in spite of the fact that the US climate is fairly benign. Heating and cooling savings for homes and commercial buildings represent the best short term opportunity to make some strides, including retrofits. And let’s get off daylight savings, too- if kids don’t like waiting for the bus in the morning, start school later.

  5. paulm says:

    Renewable wind generation actually has an additional beneficial side effect…it generates clouds

  6. The Wonderer says:

    I am a proponent of Daily Savings Time (DST), this is a true way to “save daylight.” Move the clock back 1 hour each evening Monday through Friday at 2 A.M., and forward 1 hour just after lunch.

  7. B Amer says:

    I don’t understand the air conditioning argument against DST. People are going to be awake at the hottest part of the day, regardless of what hour that falls on the clock, right? If they are working during that hour or at home, somebody is going to be using the AC, right?

    Another point to consider is the extra hour of evening light gives folks that much more time to enjoy the outdoors after work. We need to consider the health benefits of giving people an extra hour to bike, walk, play sports, etc., after work.

  8. ChicagoMike says:

    I’ve heard the real reason we still have DST is that people are more likely to go shopping in the afternoon after work if it’s still light outside, and retailers have pushed to keep the practice.

  9. Ray Kondrasuk says:

    Democrats cause global warming!

    As we receive our government-mandated extra hour of daylight this weekend, it will likely go unmentioned that Savings Time was formally adopted under Democratic President Woodrow Wilson in 1918, though but briefly. Democrat FDR re-established it in 1942, calling it “War Time”. Under Democrat Johnson in 1966 Congress passed the Uniform Time Act; since 2007 (guess who controlled Congress) Daylight Savings Time now starts three weeks earlier and ends a week later. It’s now up to Sean, Glenn, and Rush to point out that with all that accumulated extra Democrat-delivered daylight striking the earth, no wonder we have global warming.

  10. Lamont says:

    Non-monotonically increasing time is idiotic.

    I’ve been at two companies now who started with PST8PDT as the timezone on all their servers and we never successfully managed to switch them to GMT.

    Now that I’m going to a company which is spinning off and can get in on the ground floor and build it all up sanely, everything server-related is going to be GMT and I’ll be able to stop worrying about DST idiocy for the base infrastructure at least.

  11. Michael Y says:

    Hello Friends,

    I have an off-topic question that I wanted to pose to fellow readers here. A simple up or down vote would be great :) The question is: If you are familiar with the basic idea that Lather and Caldeira have worked on regarding seeding ocean clouds with ocean water sprayed into the atmosphere, would you be in favor of staged implementation starting immediately?

    I personally have come down on the side of “yes”. The extremely short half-life of the technology’s impact and the damage already being done by climate change to ecosystems outweigh the moral hazard it might create. And you? Yea? Nay? Thanks!


  12. Max says:

    Lets be totally honest, DST never saved energy, after WWI we stopped DST abd guess who lobbied for it? The Petrol companies,why? Because it increases gas consumption. We now know it does not save energy, via the great experiment in Indiana we know it cost $8.6 million more in electric costs. How dumb are Americans that they think turning the clock ahead saves energy? An example lets say the day before the clocks are turned ahead it gets dark at 6pm and it is 25 degrees outside and your oil burner comes on – follow me so far? So the next day the clocks are turned ahead and it is now dark at 7pm and 25 degrees outside does the oil burner not come on because it is light outside at 7pm? What a bunch of maroons Americans are. Ed Markey will point to the study that was done in response to his bright idea of extending DST that we save .051 percent of eltricity – yeah right what he doesn’t point out is that was based on one area also he does not mention Indiana’s increased electric costs and he does not point out that the same report says that based on the entire country the savings might be too small to make a difference – so this jackass(he is a democrat) made us all incur costs of setting computers via patches, kids going to school in the dark, airlines here in the USA incurring losses because he likes an extra hour of sunlight, yeah that is another joke – so the day is now an extra hour long being 25 hours long because the clock was shifted. DUH! What we now know – it increases gas consumption, increases traffic accidents – and increases risks of heart attacks all good for us robots of the US Government right? Mr Markey is a fraud and a corrupt politician who was bought off by the retailers, convenience store association and sporting good mfg’s who lobbied him – oh yeah not to mention candy companies too. The big news now is Russia is set to abolish DST because of the health risks and accidents, the people of New Mexico want to stop DST and a great politician there Ms Mary Jane Grace wants to abolish it yet Ed Markey puts on that dumb face and says “we love the extra hour of daylight we get” ther he goes again on his 25 hour day!

    And the above poster said it all very simply -we should let politicians tell us what time of day it is???

  13. BBHY says:

    Why don’t we just move the clocks forward by half an hour, and leave it that way all year round?

  14. charlie says:

    Oh, wait. Lighting isn’t a huge part of our electricity bill? then why do we pass stupid mandates like killing the light bulb to promote a more expensive, more toxic CFL?

  15. BBHY says:

    I heard that in the USSR Stalin would simply decree in the spring and fall when the clocks were to be changed. Then one year he set them forward in the spring, but forgot to set them back in the fall. The USSR was then off by an hour compared to the rest of the world until sometime in the 90s. Only slightly more arbitrary than what our politicians do.

  16. Theodore says:

    What is the cost of setting clocks twice a year? How many clocks do people have that are not connected to a time source? How long does it take to adjust each of them? How much is their time worth?

    What is the cost of being early or late to something twice a year if you are not paying attention and forget to change your clocks?

    Add these up. They are worthy of consideration.

  17. Leif says:

    Michel, #11: You get a “nay” from me because your suggestion will do absolutely nothing to mitigate ocean acidification, a serious problem that may well pose a more immediate long term problem for humanity than global climatic disruption. Is pulling the base out of the food chain of world’s oceans a legacy you are willing to leave the next generation? Global warming is in reality a two sides coin with one answer for both sides. Lower CO2 output. It is that simple. Nothing else will work.

  18. evnow says:

    #10 Lamont

    You should use UTC – not GMT for system time.

  19. Michael Y says:

    Hi Leif,

    Thanks for your response! I believe that lower C02 output (even negative CO2 output) is the only solution to all the problems that are ultimately caused by too much CO2. But by the time we get there, and given the inertia in the system, we are almost certainly going to face massive ecological upset that we are already starting to see from warming. So I guess I see both approaches as necessary, and not substitutes for one another.

    But once again, thank you for responding to my question!! :)


  20. Donald B says:

    Ray & Max: Those are quite the polemics! And they contains some outright inaccuracies: take the passage of the latest extension by the Republican-controlled (it WAS 2005!) Congress and GWB signed bill (item #5 in the US News article linked in Joe’s post). Note that the study on the Indiana results was published in October 2008. How widespread was its distribution? Even the U.S. News article, while mentioning Indiana’s adoption, did NOT mention the study in March 2009.

    The rest of the ad hominems we can all attribute to over-exuberance?

    This does not mean that I defend DST; we should all work to remove it. But remember that before the advent of wide-spread air-conditioning it probably did save energy (pre-1960s). And as recently as a few years ago there were many (apparently incomplete) studies showing the opposite effect.

    Then read the last (the 13th) U.S. News “effect”: because so many people “like” it, it may be hard to remove; and the climate disruption deniers will undoubtedly support them, just to be contrary and roil the waters!

  21. Max says:

    Donald B thanks for the reply, my comments were factual – the extension was co-sponsored by Ed Markey and Fred Upton in the 2005 energy bill and the ext took effect in March 2007. Check the facts on the computer the Indiana study was released in 2008 because the state went on DST as a whole in March 2007 – meter readings were compared to before and after and clearly showed an increase. But for anyone to think that shifting time is going to save any money are total idiots – because we will use lights for another hour in the morning makes it a wash if we don’t use them 1 hour in the evening. It is done for one simple reason to get the robots that we are out to spend money, in fact Reagan made the switch from the last Sunday in April to to the first Sunday because the retail lobby pushed for it. Remember think about everytine any politicain swears something is good for the country it probably isn’t they are mostly paid off leeches.

    One camp will say it costs more to DST and the camp says it saves energy, but these facts are now true

    It increases gas consumption
    It increases electric costs
    It increases auto accidents (as much as 11 percent on the Monday after we turn the closcks ahead)
    It increases the risk of heart attacks

    All negatives and no really provable benefits – with all these politicians trying to tax trans fats because they are harmful, a soda tax becasue soda is bad for you, DST is a health risk – lets see how many people have serious injuries monday or are sadly killed because Ed Markey and other creeps like him tell us “we love the extra hour of sunlight we get – it makes us smile” the lunatics are running the looney bin and the dumb American public buy it!

  22. Phila says:

    Oh, wait. Lighting isn’t a huge part of our electricity bill? then why do we pass stupid mandates like killing the light bulb to promote a more expensive, more toxic CFL?

    First, you’re confusing price with value. Incandescents have a lower price, but a much higher operating cost. That’s why offices, schools, factories, and warehouses have been using fluorescent lighting to lower their costs for decades. Or weren’t you aware of that?

    As for toxicity, see here.

  23. KE says:

    The start and stop dates of the current law are way out of wack.
    Suggestion…revert the dates to what they were prior to 1987…the LAST
    SUNDAY of APRIL to the LAST SUNDAY in OCTOBER. This way, when the switch
    is made, we still have daylight in the morning when DST kicks in. In the
    Fall, the conversion needs to revert back to October. To have it go
    to November 7th this year is crazy. By November 6, the day before we
    convert back to Standard time…the sunrises will be even later than
    they are in late December and early January.
    A survey reveals that 47% of the U.S. population do not even want the
    clocks set forward and backwards twice a year. Fat chance the Congress
    will ever do that. Few people realize that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,
    the golfing lobby, the outdoor barbecue lobby, and other business groups
    WANTED DST extended because it means more money. Outdoor recreation
    activities, from little league, to tennis courts, to golf courses all
    benefit. Then there are claims of reduced crime in the evening, and
    slightly lower energy costs. But during long duration heat waves that
    come with summer, that extra hour of evening sun means A/C runs even
    longer. And that can negate any energy savings. That’s one reason that
    Arizona doesn’t observe it.
    If one can’t eliminate DST, perhaps we should look for a much shorter DST
    season. Perhaps start it the first Sunday in May and end the observance
    of it the last Sunday in September. This way DST is only observed during the
    five warmest months of the year. Without getting into the darkness issues
    we find in early spring sunrise times…and the return of late sunrises
    come October. To extend this past Halloween, just so that trick or treaters
    can do this in the name of ‘safety’ is patently ridiculous.
    Write or call your Congress person or Senator if you want the practice to
    stop or to at least be modified. A five month, vs an eight month DST period,
    makes far more sense. But if one wants it stopped, 4am to 5am sunrise times
    on Standard Time is not desirable either. Hence the idea of daylight ‘shifting’
    time. It makes sense to me that we need to (once again) revisit this whole idea
    and make an intelligent choice. Get involved, start a movement. Anyone care to
    join me? I don’t have a website, but maybe the time has come to FIX this!

  24. Donald B says:

    Max: My point was that Ray (and now maybe you) tried to implicate the Democrats as the prime movers for our DST laws but when they were passed is when the responsibility is assigned, NOT when they went into effect. Thanks for pointing out that at least now businesses do take advantage of them, although it is not clear exactly when the additional gasoline usage due to DST laws became known. Therefore it is likely not a prime reason for their introduction.

    The increased motor accidents in the spring are approximately matched by a decrease in the fall (and special effects for Halloween, which was the major reason for the fall extension, at least in selling it to the public. The same apparently holds for heart attacks, so be careful about cherry-picking data.

    Throwing in other issues such as trans-fats is a red herring to this subject but for some I suppose an effective rhetorical stunt.

    I don’t remember the politicians leading the charge to extend DST; I DO remember several campaigns, with articles in newspaper magazines (Parade, etc.) that did NOT lead to passage. I have not studied it deeply enough to identify the prime movers, but they were apparently not politicians, especially Democrats (in control of Congress at the time from before Kennedy to the beginning of Clinton), who were responsive to farmers, Floridians (for one state), etc. who were against it. That they eventually did pass such legislation is a sign that they did respond to at least perceived wide-ranging public desire, which was built by outside groups based on what are now recognized as some combination of data that may have been accurate then but has been made out of date by new technology and lifestyle changes. Those lifestyle changes clearly added new energy uses that were not accounted for in at least some of the recent studies. The implementation of DST laws has been a real bipartisan work, however misconceived. But using the issue to flog other horses is uncalled for and is unlikely to help in rectifying the problem they have created.

    Calling Rep. Markey a “creep” is uncalled for and you have no conclusive evidence for your charges. It also degrades the perceived quality of your arguments for your case.

  25. Pagodroma says:

    Most of the time i enjoy Joe’s posts on different important subjects but this time I think the real waste of energy is debating DST. You have totally missed the social point of DST, i.e. you get longer lighter evenings during which you can enjoy being outside. In Sweden we have had DST since 1981 and I think 95 % of the population sees the benefit of it. After a long and dark winter, it is a mental step into spring to suddenly enjoy the evening light.

    So get back to real problems (there are enough of them) and stop wasting energy on a real non-issue!!!

  26. Max says:

    Donald B – the facts are available if you dig deep, Markey was lobbied by the retail industry the convenience store association, and candy makers on the ext for a back becasue they want more candy sold end of story. If the politicians were so concerned about children why do they let them walk to school in the dark when clocks are turned ahead. It is my right to call Markey a creep – the man is dirty – he has been part of D.C. for thirty years or more and what has he accomplished – our energy policy is a shambles.

    He has now been quoted as saying “even if we don’t save money (DST) we love the extra hour of sunlight” again so are you telling me days are now 25 hours long??? They say DST is good for us it gets us out of the house to excercise – yet now we have figures showing that auto accidents increase as much as 11 percent the monday after DST – so that is good for us?? We now have concrete studies showing risks of heart attacks rise after DST – so that is good for us? You point out they decrease in fall when clocks are turned back – why because we get an hour more sleep – our body clocks are reset that should be enough to say DST has no benefits except to get you on the road to shop later at night, the leisure industry lobbied Markey because they figured $200 milliom more would be spent on recreation such as golf – and you still don’t get it? Also do the history, research DST it was started be the Germans in WWI we copied them – when the war ended we stopped DST because it did not save energy – yet the petrol companies lobbied for it in the 1920’s and 1930’s why because it increases gas consumption.

    Most people I talk with say leave the clocks alone – I spoke with Fred Upton’s office the other day and was told he is aware of some of the concerns re: risks of heart attacks, increased accidents etc those concerns should be enough to stop DST if our officials were concerned about our health.

    And by the way – with Russia ready to abolish DST that will be a big chuck of Europe getting off of it, they get it is a health issue and with the Swedish study more and more countries will stop DST leaving the U.S. once again putting lobbyists interests above the health of the public

  27. Max says:

    Bravo KE Bravo –

  28. Max says:

    More on Markey

    On the Spot ( – A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels.

    Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House (Select) Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee, also equated the drive for global warming legislation with the drive for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    But one global warming expert from the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) told Cybercast News Service that such a remark reveals Markey’s ignorance on the subject of global warming.

    “In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.

    “That famine translated to international aid we sent in to Somalia, which then led to the U.S. having to send in forces to separate all the groups that were fighting over the aid, which led to Black Hawk Down. There was this scene where we have all of our American troops under fire because they have been put into the middle of this terrible situation,” he added.

    Markey was referring to the battle of Mogadishu in 1993, when 18 members of a U.S. military team were killed in a helicopter crash and a resulting firefight. The battle was made famous by a 2001 Academy Award-winning film, “Black Hawk Down.”

    Markey was speaking to 25 students from the World Wildlife Fund’s Allianz Southeast Climate Witness Program. The students had come to the Capitol to brief members of Congress on the risks of global warming. The students were from the Gulf States.

    But Myron Ebell, director of Energy and Global Warming Policy at CEI, told Cybercast News Service that Markey’s remarks reveal his ignorance about the science of global warming.

    “Yes, that part of the world is subject to drought at times, but it has very little to do with global warming,” said Ebell. “It is subject to drought whether the global average temperature is going up, down, or staying the same. To say you know the conflict was caused by global warming is to show how really ignorant you are of the scientific issues involved.”

    The students who testified at the event, most of whom had lived in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, described the difficulties they faced after the storm and blamed global warming for the disaster.

    “Katrina woke me up and made me pay attention,” said 17-year-old Danielle Wold from Harvey, La. “One of the worst disasters in history made me want to do something. In 100 years, New Orleans could just be another Atlantis.”

    Fifteen-year-old Stephen Bordes from New Orleans called on lawmakers to do something to end global warming. “Cutting carbon emissions is mainly in your hands since you pass the laws,” he said. ‘You basically control climate change. We should have changed yesterday, but it’s too late to change yesterday so we should start now.”

    Bordes said that he thinks the warming of the atmosphere could lead to a situation in which his home, which is near the superdome in New Orleans, could become permanently inundated with water.

    Markey also told the students that there no longer exists any debate about whether or not disasters like Katrina are caused by climate change.

    “There now is no question that this harm is being caused by human activity,” said Markey. “It’s warming up the planet and melting the glaciers. There is an underwater heat wave going on. The waters get warmer and warmer and that intensifies the storms and creates even greater havoc when those storms reach land.”

    “The planet is running a fever. It’s heating up but there is no emergency rooms for planets,” he said. “The worst consequences affect the planet — not only New Orleans — but the whole planet.

    “The same thing is true by the way with Darfur,” Markey added. “Darfur is really about water. This is an issue which really goes to the heart of the incredible impact that climate change is having upon our planet. “

    But Ebell said that droughts in Darfur are probably not an effect of global warming. “In that region, droughts have been going on for hundreds of years and before human beings started to burn coal and gas,” he said. “They will continue because of precipitation patterns. Again, I think Chairman Markey has revealed the extent of his ignorance on this issue.”

    Markey finished his talk by comparing the debate against global warming to the 20th century fight for women suffrage. “Back 100 years ago, women rose up and said we want the right to vote, and they were successful,” he said. “Now, you are like the green generation and you are rising up and saying we must ensure the planet does not suffer the worst consequences of climate change.”

  29. Chad says:

    I think the question of whether DST saves energy is rather moot. It clearly appears to be about a wash. What really matters is having sunshine at 9pm rather than 3am. Only the insane would wish for the latter.

  30. Brent says:

    I hate that twice a year I get jet lagged with traveling an inch. Why can’t we settle on a standard and just leave it be?!

  31. paganmama says:

    I have to say I agree with Pagodroma …. Joe isn’t taking into consideration of the benefit we gain by the individual members of society staying out later doing different things … working … exercising … those benefits might actually ultimately, though, harder to measure, offset the negative ramifications of DST … I for one, suffer from depression as does 25% of the American population at any one given time and my mood has increased considerably knowing that I will get extra sunlight (not extra time – hence the 25 hour day) in the evening and I may even be more productive in my own life – as might lots of other people – very hard to measure … but we can’t ignore it nonetheless …. Quite honestly … the thought of staying on standard time makes me want to crawl back into bed! How do we measure that? And work it into the equation?

  32. Terry Miller says:

    I know that I feel better having more daylight in the evening.

  33. Max says:

    where do you get extra sunligt during the day??? There is no extra sunlight – same amount of daylight. No gain in sunlight at all, but when you do the math about the 11 percent increase in auto accidents considering there are what 275 million people in the USA and the percentage of increased risk of heart attacks again with the amount of people it adds up to a steep cost in human life, plus the risk of children walking to school in the dark – the problem of sleep deprivation and the fact no money is saved people still say “I the the extra hour of sunlight” it boggles the mind – P.S. Not meant to in any way say anything bad about paganmama – this is aimed at the larger US population who are brainwashed by politicians who really have not one interest in the safety of US citizens but crave the lobbiests money.

    Again more and more countries will be addressing the issue and the foreign countries do seem to have more interest in the well being of their citizens then we do and with the increasing evidence that health issues out weigh statements liking an extra hour will result in more countries abolishing DST.

    Also to the other posters here – comments were not meant to insult anyone here as you all seem to be good and upstanding people with some great stuff to say.

  34. Bloss says:

    I’ll ignore the conspiracy theories about the nasty petrol companies and big businesses wanting us to shop more etc. The economic argument here seems mainly that DST increases energy use and costs. This would be the fossil fuel based energy we need to completely stop using if we are to fix global warming and its consequences. So if the energy so used is renewably sourced then the energy impacts of DST become irrelevant and the issues then become ones about human choice (since our use of clocks and determination of how we look at time is our construct anyway). The purported health impacts of DST show a range of associations, but are a long long way from indicating causality.

    There are a number of flaws in the way DST is implemented that cause greater economic problems (like pretty much ignoring latitude and large population centres when using DST regimes – we choose simplistic and linear approaches to complex issues as we do in other areas). In Australia for example, we use State boundaries that barely relate to where people live and how DST might affect them – a redrawing of DST boundaries could fix that problem. We also resist simple administrative changes that would make DST work better for specific industries (eg: cows get milked at the same time, but often collections and processing plants do not change – ie: they follow the clock not their real business needs).

    In summary there are good reasons to implement DST more intelligently and there might be good reasons to cease DST while our energy remains fossil fuel based, but that is a proximate issue. The ultimate issue is that we continue to use fossil fuels to heat and cool wastefully. As others have said the majority of the US (and too the majority of Australia where more than 80% of our population lives) would need no energy to be wasted on heating and cooling if we simply designed and contructed our buildings better and wore appropriate clothes.

    The focus on that ultimate problem will happen only when we start charging a price for carbon and other greenhouse gases – and when that price more directly relates to the impact they have on the Earth. I have yet to read the book and will do so with interest when my copy arrives downunder, but it seems to offer another distraction from the more urgent and important issues.

  35. Bloss says:

    A postscript: it is worth reinforcing that the negative impacts on energy of DST has been exacerbated by the massive increase in the use in summer of air conditioning systems that are cheap and inefficient. This use has increased rapidly since the 90s as they became available at low capital cost and with subsidised running costs (ie: energy at prices excluding a carbon cost). Flicking a switch to get cool or hot has been made the easy and simple choice. If the US is like Australia as I know it is (except for California and few other exceptions) then installation and use of air conditioning is done as the initial response to manage thermal performance of buildings and design, siting and construction (even of simple retrofitting of insulation or shades or heavy curtains and pelmets) comes way down the list.

    The other factor is the lack of granularity when we use national or State scales when climatic (and weather) conditions are often much more local. For example the Californian study refers to ‘the October climate in Australia being like April in the northern hemisphere’. Duh! Which part of Australia – Tasmania the southern most state is at 40-44 degrees south while Northern NSW is at around 28 degrees and Nth Qld is at around 16 degrees sth. Does the comparison for energy use take that into account? How about whether the location is coastal or inland – which makes a huge difference to comfort? On the higher altitude ranges or further inland at much lower altitude?

    So we are asked to draw precise conclusions from imprecise data – these studies are necessary and useful, but not sufficient to argue the case.

  36. Bloss says:

    BTW – The Californian analysis of impacts in 2000 in Australia have been overtaken by electrical market changes. See here: As can be seen Australian summer peaks have taken over from winter – primarily due to increased A/C use. DST means peoeple get back home earlier and so turn on A/C earlier and run for longer during a hotter part of the day (but that is location dependent). But again – Sydney is a warm temperate climate, Brisbane is sub tropical, Melbourne is cool temperate (they and adjacent smaller conurbations comprise nearly 3/4 of Australia’s total population) – all buildings could be managed by passive means to stay within an acceptable human comfort range of 17-27 degrees centigrade. That we don’t do so is not because of a failure of science, technology or engineering, but because of economic and political failures.

  37. chris says:

    Leave it alone, if there are any benefits to DST it’s only benefiting day shift workers. What about the rest of us? Maybe we would like a little daylight on our side of the clock.

  38. Judy says:

    For a global 24/7 society it’s outdated.Some studies show that the rate of heart attacks and accidents goes up in the days following the time change.
    A petition to end DST can be signed on

  39. Cynthia Miller says:

    Daylight Saving Time is both ridiculous and foolish.

    Modern society already is fast-paced enough, with large numbers of people (current recession notwithstanding) struggling to stay on time, to get to work, to arrive at a dental or medical appointment, to send their kids off the school, to take care of a chore, to attend a meeting or social function, to finish homework. Pushing the clock forward, in effect, makes such matters seem like an even faster, more irksome race against the hands of the clock.

    And if we’re becoming more health conscious as a people, then why do we implement a yearly change that negatively affects the well-being of the human body’s physiology? We’re always yakkity yakking about the dangers of poor nutrition, not exercising enough, and being exposed to dangerous chemicals. But what about the major problem of many people in our hectic modern lifestyle not getting enough sleep on a daily basis?!

    And while some people may be able to take greater advantage of so-called healthy activities because they’re getting out of work earlier and using the extra sunlight in tandem with outdoor recreation, I imagine just as many people do nothing with that sunlight except to drive to, for example, the local mall or movie theater. I bet even more of us merely go home and maintain the life of a couch potato. But a couch potato who can see more sunshine pouring through the windows.

    As for the politics of DST, it’s bipartisan stupidity. IOW, there are people across the political spectrum who support it and have snickered at large numbers of us being no more than sheeple in grumbling about the yearly time change but doing nothing about it. So Americans, far from moving towards a situation where the foolishness of DST is finally eliminated, have, if anything, seen the duration of DST lengthened since 1966, when DST was 6 months long. Then more than 20 years later in 1987, DST became 7 months long. And, of course, DST, quite recently in 2007, became 8 months long.

    The madness has gotten worse!

    I recommend this piece written by Michael Downing of the Huffington Report….

    Almost a century ago, a letter-writer to the New York Times compared daylight saving to “cheating yourself at solitaire and telling yourself you won.”

    That’s the point of daylight saving — to pretend you’re beating the clock and besting nature while you sit on a still-sunny beach at 8:00 p.m. in the middle of July. Even though you sort of know it’s actually only 7:00 p.m.

    This deception might be benign. It might even be beneficial. But to get in on this bargain, do we have to go on buying the preposterous idea that we are saving 100,000 barrels of oil with every additional day of daylight saving, which Congress has been peddling since 1975?

    For the record, a 1975 Department of Transportation (DOT) report estimated that daylight saving could reduce domestic electricity consumption by one percent per day. If this optimistic goal is ever achieved (we’ve never come close), it will have no positive impact on our consumption of oil. More than 95 percent of our electricity is produced with coal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power.

    Plus, while electricity use often does fall during the first month or two, it actually increases over the whole daylight-saving period. A superb analysis of electricity demand in Indiana after the statewide adoption of daylight saving in 2006 (conducted by Matthew Kotchen of U.C. Santa Barbara) demonstrated that Hoosiers had paid more than $8 million for their extra hour of evening sun.

    Congress commissioned a separate Department of Energy study in 2007, after extending the daylight — saving period to eight months. (Oddly, we now spring forward in wintertime.) DOE turned up an electricity-saving of 0.46 to 0.48 percent.

    This good news — half of one percent is not nothing — was tempered by a few confusing caveats. The electricity saving only applied to the four additional weeks of daylight saving — three in March and one in November. Over the full eight-month period, daylight saving was likely a net loser thanks, in part, to our reliance on air-conditioning in the summer. And the DOE study pointedly excluded the effect on demand for heating fuels, which surely increased during those four weeks, as sunless winter mornings make for colder homes, schools, and offices.

    Most confusing of all, DOE reported no significant change in gasoline consumption. Just one year earlier, economist Peter Tertzakian had identified a one-percent jump in gasoline demand, which added up to 266,000 additional barrels of imported crude per day of extended daylight saving–that’s real oil, not the hypothetical DOT variety.

    The National Association of Convenience Stores — whose 100,000-plus locations account for three-quarters of all the gasoline sold in this country — isn’t trying to fool anyone. It stages an annual event on Capitol Hill, which the lobby itself bills as “a thank-you to Congress for federal adoption of daylight saving.”

  40. Max says:

    A snippet from the Victoria Advocate from March 14 2010

    “Someone else who has studied daylight saving time, Michael Downing, author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, thinks that the idea that more daylight equals energy savings is misguided.

    “I’m certainly not a fan of the idea that it saves energy,” Downing said in an interview with National Public Radio. “It turns out that every time Congress has studied it, it’s been told that we haven’t saved anything.”

    “Here’s the problem with daylight saving as an energy saver: We tend to want our computers and our televisions and our radios when we want them,” added Downing.

    “More importantly, daylight saving really pushed Americans out of the house at the end of the day. And when Americans go out of the house, they may go to the ballpark, they may go to the mall, but they don’t walk there. They get into their cars,” said Downing. “Daylight saving increased gasoline consumption, something the petroleum industry has known since 1930.”