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Extended Daylight Savings Time
Jamais Cascio, 7 Apr 05

For most of the United States, Daylight Savings Time started last weekend -- clocks are set an hour forward, so that the "daylight" part of the day extends to a later hour. For a variety of reasons, this has a small but noticeable effect on energy consumption. Now the House Energy and Commerce Committee is drafting legislation to extend the daylight savings period for two months, so that it starts the beginning of March and ends the last Sunday in November. A recent study by the US Department of Transportation concluded that a two month extension would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

If this passes, a couple of questions present themselves: would the remaining three months still be referred to as "standard time;" and what's the argument for not simply extending daylight savings to the rest of the year?

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This was done in the 70s also when the oil prices were very high. The reason it was changed back was because parents were worried that children waiting for the schoolbus or walking to school in the dark might get hit by a car.

It's a legitimate concern.

Posted by: Jesse Hill on 7 Apr 05

Not when all the kiddies are ferried to and from school in massive SUVs...

Posted by: Paul on 8 Apr 05

the century-old idea of daylight savings time doesn't seem that worldchanging, nor does the use of daylight savings time for energy optimization (that idea dates to at least the 70's).

for something worldchanging, try discarding national lock-step time, and set local school/business hours to the local optimum.

(more TIVO solves the lock-step entertainment problem)

Posted by: odograph on 8 Apr 05

Jesse's right. Richard Nixon instituted permanent daylight savings time in the '70s. I was in high school at the time and I remember waiting for the morning school bus in complete darkness in the depths of a Wisconsin winter. Not pleasant. The purpose then, as now, was to save energy, and it had about the same effect. That is, nada.

IMO this is simply lame posturing by a Congress unable and unwilling to cross its corporate masters in the oil and transportation industries and mandate the changes that are absolutely necessary to put this country on the path to a more responsible energy policy. Note, for example, that nobody is proposing another Nixon/Ford-era regulation that actually worked: reducing the federal highway speed limit to 55. This would save a lot more oil than a pitiful 10,000 barrels/day, and might have the added benefit of saving a few thousand lives every year.

Posted by: John Baxter on 8 Apr 05

Set a lower speed limits for V8s and you might see something interesting ;-)

Posted by: odograph on 8 Apr 05



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