Once again, the end of Daylight Saving Time is here — as is the debate of its validity.
Reminder: Daylight Saving Time Ends tomorrow, November 2nd, at 2:00 AM. It is also recommended that you change the batteries in any smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors you may use.
So, living with Daylight Saving Time is over until March 8th, 2015. But, is Daylight Saving Time actually necessary?
According to the Christian Science Monitor, it has become anachronistic. Believed to have been created by Benjamin Franklin to save candles and instituted by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, it has become less popular with the citizenry. Rasmussen Reports, a polling firm, ran a poll that showed only 33 percent of citizens think Daylight Saving Time is worth the hassle.
A similar poll in 2013 showed 37 percent doubted Daylight Saving Time’s validity, and 45 percent in 2012. Other studies are showing that the reason for the existence of Daylight Saving Time, conservation of energy, is negligible at best. Studies showed that in the attempt to conserve artificial light, customers used heating and/or air conditioning, which caused a one percent jump in electricity usage in the state of Indiana.
That study was done in 2013.
Some states are considering adopting what Hawaii is doing and not using Daylight Saving Time. One state, Alabama, wants to keep that state on Daylight Saving throughout the year without changing.
“I have heard from constituents and businesses from around the state for years about this issue,” Alabama Senator Rusty Glover (R) said in a release. “Our legislation will make sure that children riding the late afternoon school bus, or working people who get off at 5 o’clock, won’t have to come home in the dark.”
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Arizona had tried it, but subsequently got rid of it. Utah and Nebraska are now considering joining Hawaii and Arizona and removing Daylight Saving Time. Even Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, has abolished Daylight Saving Time there.
The aforementioned article also states that the United States Department of Energy has performed studies to determine that Daylight Saving Time is still valid. However, Hendrick Wolff, a University of Washington Economics professor who was consulted by the United States Department of Energy for this study, stated the study was limited and the test suffered from a lack of a scientific control area, so the test was inconclusive in its determination.
“We don’t know how the U.S. would have behaved without the daylight saving time extension,” Mr. Wolff said.
Matthew Kotchen, Yale economics professor, decided to run another study in 2006 in the state of Indiana, where Daylight Saving Time had just been adopted statewide. Previously, only 15 of Indiana’s 92 counties participated in Daylight Saving Time. The study focused on residential usage, since “Big Box” stores usually ran lights regardless of time or darkness. The result was that there was an increase in electric usage due to Daylight Saving Time.
It is possible that Daylight Saving Time has indeed helped at some point but, as Mr. Kotchen advised, “the world has changed. Lighting is a small amount of energy and electricity use in households. The big things are heating and cooling, particularly as air conditioning has become more prevalent. We’re fooling ourselves to continue calling it an energy policy given the studies that show it doesn’t save energy.”
[Image courtesy of Coffeyville.pl.org]