Why was Daylight Savings Time moved?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Apparently some Swatties are still grouchy about having an hour shaved off of their Spring Break, and I understand–that extra hour of uninterrupted sleep would have meant a lot to me, too.

Why did Daylight Savings Time change? From 1987 through 2006, Daylight Savings Time started on the first Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. This year, Daylight Savings Time has been extended by one full month–it started on the second Sunday in March and will last until the first Sunday in November.

This change was mandated by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 under the hopes that the change will reduce electricity consumption by up to 1% in March and April. Daylight Savings Time was lengthened to eight months in 1973 during the Arab oil embargo, and supposedly 100,000 barrels of oil were saved daily as a result. Extended Daylight Savings Time has also been linked to reductions in crime and traffic accidents.

California in particular pushed for this change after the 2001 energy crisis, since studies in California suggest that Daylight Savings Time reduces the use of electricity during peak hours.

If no significant reduction in energy consumption is noticed, Congress has reserved the right to move back to the old calendar for Daylight Savings Time, that is from the first Sunday in April to the last in October.

That said, not everybody is happy about the change. Airplane companies have complained about difficulty in scheduling international flights, the technology industry deemed the event Y2K7, and a group of observant Jews lodged a complaint that they would not be able to pray at sunrise and still make it to work on time during March. Let’s not even get into the confused livestock–apparently changes in routine make cows very cranky.

With all of that information, what do you know? It seems that our hour of Spring Break was hardly important in the larger scheme of things. If you like the change, more power to you, but if you don’t, make sure to use enormous amounts of energy this year. I’m thinking building a huge useless motor and running it on Parrish Beach would do it.

What do you want to ask us about next? The time in Indiana? We’ll give it our best shot–just make sure to Ask the Gazette at dailygazette [at] swarthmore [dot] edu.

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