The 100th year anniversary of daylight savings time will be on March 13th, so to celebrate I thought that it would be helpful to gather a few fun facts about the event and also ask some important questions as well. Like most people, on Monday March 13th at 6:59 a.m. I will be asleep, and I will not recognize when the minute passes and the clock jumps an extra hour ahead. At the premature 8:00 a.m. I will be groggy, disoriented, and dissatisfied with our modern society. And as I drink an unusually large cup of coffee I will ponder along with the rest of the United States, “Why do we even have daylight savings time? What purpose does this serve?”
The inventor of DST is commonly thought to be the American Benjamin Franklin, who posted an essay to The Journal of Paris in 1784 called “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”. This essay outlined the benefits of an “early to bed, early to rise” approach to daily life that Franklin claims to have observed from Parisians. This may explain why when John Oliver asked pedestrians ‘Why is daylight savings time still a thing?” the majority replied that it was to benefit the agricultural industry.
Be must thank not Ben Franklin and instead thank the Germans for being to first to nationally implement daylight savings time in 1916 to save coal and fuel during wartime. Americans adopted DST in 1918, after the Russians, the English and their allies for similar energy efficiency reasons.** However, as time progressed and energy consumption became more complicated there has been a rise in skepticism about the utility of daylight savings time. In 1966 the first attempt to actually quantify the energy saving merits of DST showed inconsistent data,
Half a century later, State energy services and national data collecting services are still reporting that daylight savings time either does not effect our energy consumption, or it actually raises energy consumption. Reports also indicate that the United States loses billions of dollars every year, just because the clock jumps forward one hour. Bloomberg business does a good job of comparing the pros and cons of DST as well, diving deeper in to the fact that businesses and consumers may also benefit from daylight savings time.
When March 13th rolls around this year, and the usual economists post their usual complaints about the event, pay close attention to the news. Perhaps you will read in the paper about an increase in fatalities by car crashes, a surge (or a decrease) in crime, and increase in suicide rates.
**Militaries changing their clocks so often during the year actually caused problems for those employed in the United States military.
Check out the maps and analysis of “reasonable” sunrise and sunset times with and without DST by Andy Woodruff. http://andywoodruff.com/blog/where-to-hate-daylight-saving-time-and-where-to-love-it/
Thank you! The graph was fun to play with, and as a morning person I enjoyed the hypothetical extra morning sun I received when DST was abolished. I think at the end of the day “reasonable” sunrise and sunset times become subjective, Andy himself frequently adds (in parentheses) his personal preferences for sunrise/sunset. Also noted in his blog article are how latitudes determine how early/late the sun rises/sets, but that actual time on the clock is determined by longitude and time zone. On that note;
Here’s a link to a map of DST around the world, including Countries that both do and do not observe daylight savings time.