More Ammunition for People Who Hate Daylight Saving Time

Even if you hate daylight saving time, you tell yourself: Hey, I shouldn’t be so selfish, it’s good for the economy, or for the environment, or for farmers, or something. Right?


Well, um, perhaps not. Consider a new working paper, “Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy? Evidence From a Natural Experiment in Indiana,” by Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant:

The history of daylight saving time (D.S.T.) has been long and controversial. Throughout its implementation during World Wars I and II, the oil embargo of the 1970’s, consistent practice today, and recent extensions, the primary rationale for D.S.T. has always been to promote energy conservation.

Nevertheless, there is surprisingly little evidence that D.S.T. actually saves energy. This paper takes advantage of a natural experiment in the state of Indiana to provide the first empirical estimates of D.S.T. effects on electricity consumption in the United States since the mid-1970’s.

Focusing on residential electricity demand, we conduct the first-ever study that uses micro-data on households to estimate an overall D.S.T. effect. The dataset consists of more than 7 million observations on monthly billing data for the vast majority of households in southern Indiana for three years.

Our main finding is that — contrary to the policy’s intent — D.S.T. increases residential electricity demand.

Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, but we find that the effect is not constant throughout the D.S.T. period. D.S.T. causes the greatest increase in electricity consumption in the fall, when estimates range between 2 and 4 percent.

These findings are consistent with simulation results that point to a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. We estimate a cost of increased electricity bills to Indiana households of $9 million per year. 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.

On the bright side, if President-elect Obama is looking for some quick hits on energy conservation, here’s one that’s all teed up and ready to go: Kill D.S.T.!



I work the night shift as an RN and on the nights of "fall back" I have to stay at work for an extra hour. Now I realize that sound like I am complaining but after you have worked 12.5 hours another is too much!!


I think we should just change the orbit and orientation of the earth so we don't have to worry about DST.


@44 Aside from your racist comment, I would wager a guess that the blanket would be slightly longer (the width of the sewing line).


Another major advantage of ridding ourselves of this relic: the cost of computer software is increased due to having to deal with DST changes whenever a question of timing comes up.


Ok, here's the DST primer. First, you don't get any extra sunlight...the sun is out for the same amount of time regardless of how we count the hours...what DST does is shift and hour of sunlight to the evening. The energy saving bit was true back when DST started and it's because the extra hour of sun in the evening meant people didn't need to use electric lights as wasn't noticed by many in the morning as they were likely to be asleep during that extra time..or (in the case of farmers) out in the fields. The power savings aren't noticed now (or as in the study, the opposite effect occurs) since we have lots of tv's, computers, and air conditioners now. Their power use is greater than the lights. There are other benefits however. You can check out wikipedia for a summary but the biggies are: The economy...more light in the evening seems to benefit stores, etc. as people are more likely to go out and do things if it's light later at night; public safety...there seems to be a decrease in vehicle accidents during DST; health...sunlight seems to improve mental and physical health so seeing more of it is good. We don't observe DST in the winter as the extra hour wouldn't do much...many of us would still be in work when it got dark, DST or normal time.



How about those of you who want lighter later and those of you who want lighter earlier each adjust his routines to his own preferences?

only wage slaves and government employees have these problems...


This is pathetic.
Politicians should no more set your clocks than they should be telling you what to eat... oh, wait...

you are a bunch of serfs. Land of the free my ***s!


How about we permanently shift to DST?

I have not been happy with my daylight ending before my day ends ever since we switched. I wake up to full sunlight but have to come home in the dark.

The main complaint about DST is the semiannual switching ritual. Why not use it year round instead?

David Chowes, NYC

Who cares about utility? Just like religion, it's all about tradition!


I propose that we stay on daylight savings time all year. Changing the clock back and forth, though, is silly.


dst is a waste of time where I live you can save as much energy as you want somebody next door is using it for you and they still have load shedding where they switch the power of a whole area off for two hours.Then the copper thieves steal the cable and the money they saved is lost because they have to replace the cable


Let's hear it for mduffy (@76) and the plan for two time zones for the continental 48!

As I understand it, that would put half the country on permanent DST and half on permanent standard, and then we could quit changing clocks twice a year.

Side note to Clyde K in message #60, whose kids start school at 7:40 a.m. every morning: Do a little research on sleep deprivation and how it negatively affects students (specifically their behavior and test scores). Get a few parents together, and demand that your school knock it off. Seriously early hours seriously hurt student learning.

Most high schools should not consider a start time much before 9:00 a.m. -- and the only people that will complain are the sports coaches (less time after school to drive to 'away' games) and the grocery stores and fast food chains. You can have an optional "hour zero" for those (few) that actually want early bird hours.



I *hate* changing time twice a year. It is incredibly stupid. The best solution- leave it on DST all year round (summer time all the time). At least that way more people will benefit from extra daylight near the end of the day, when modern people want it more.

Farmers? Let them adjust their own clocks if they want to get up earlier or later... it is 2008, not 1908.


I grew up in northern New England and moved to Indianapolis in 1991. Family always got confused as to whether or not we were on the same time - half the year we were, half the year we weren't. Actual daylight hours seemed reasonable year round but I was excited by the prospect of joining the same time schedule as most of the rest of North America (Arizona does not observe DST). As pointed out by an earlier contributor, Indiana is on the western edge of the Eastern timezone and that really plays hell with timing. Just when the evenings were getting dark too early to do anything outdoors after work, we "fell back" and now it's dark by the time I get home.

I'd like Indiana to remain on DST but I believe that being in the Central timezone would be preferable to Eastern.

Oh, and a generation or two from now no one will think it inconvenient.

stephen dee

If I've read the majority of comments on here correctly, what I think Americans want to do is copy the ever-so-advanced-thinking of the Ethiopians (and Tanzanians). There, the days all begin at sunrise all year 'round. Thus, every day is as long as it is and everyone is confused about when exactly they're supposed to meet because nobody has a "watch" that works on Ethiopian time .. kinda like Jamaican time, only without the substance use.

So .. once again, it's evident that Americans really do want to have things more like they are in a third world country.


I still say, we all were kids once, getting them to and from school in reasonable daylight should count for something.
Perhaps the schools could adjust their schedules!!!! and spare the rest
of us.


I do not give a darn which time your people choose... Just please pick one and stick to it year around!
It is like some conspiracy to keep folks off balance.
Like the one fellow said: "White man thinks that cutting a foot off top of blanket and sewing on bottom makes blanket longer..."
Just quit messing with it!
The chickens all lay their eggs at the same time...

Colleen, Massachusetts

So many people are confused.

If you live on the eastern side of a time zone, as we do on the east coast, DST provides longer summer evenings. For most of us living some sort of 9-5 life sunlight early in the morning is not much practical use. We're still asleep.

On the western side of a time zone DST leaves some getting up in the dark in the fall (#60), but they have nice long summer evenings. I once lived in Michigan, so I've had it both ways.

The world is round, it makes a complete turn on its axis in 24 hours, hence 24 world time zones.
Can't be helped. Some of us live on the eastern side of our time zones, others on the west.
Children do adjust to time changes. It's no big deal - I had 2 kids. Between them they now have 4. I don't hear any complaints.

neil wilson

I really don't care whether or not Daylight Savings Time saves money or saves energy or whatever.

The fact is that DST is great.

I can come home after work and do something outside. Picnics can last longer, baseball games can last longer. Walks with my wife can last longer.

I often get up at 5:30 in the morning. It really seems a waste for me to see a beautiful sunrise when other people are smart enough to still be sleeping.

Ask anyone would they rather have an extra hour of sunlight when they are sleeping in the morning or an extra hour of sunlight at night. You know what the answer is.

I think it is absurd to make DST longer and longer. It probably makes sense to go back to what we had years ago and go from the end of April to the beginning of October. (Yes, the candy makers will be upset.)

The point of living is not to save money or energy. It is to use it logically to get the highest benefit for the least cost. DST achieves that goal.


Tim H

I assume those praising DST for allowing more evening daylight in the "warmer" months live in the North. Down here in Texas, the last thing you want in the summer months is more sunshine. Down with DST!