Q’s Corner: Daylight saving time


Spring is lovely because of the warmer weather, live foliage and the distinct lack of snow. However, with spring also comes an evil: daylight saving time.

While that statement is hyperbolic, daylight saving time is a frustrating practice that has no place in today’s society.

The original idea for daylight saving time came from Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris that people should rise with the sun and go to bed earlier to save money on candles.

Modern daylight saving time was proposed as a two-hour shift by entomologist George Hudson because he wanted two extra hours of sunlight to go bug hunting in the summer.

Germany was the first country to adopt daylight saving time to have more daylight hours to produce weapons for World War I. Other European countries shortly followed suit.

The U.S. introduced daylight saving time with the Standard Time Act of 1918, but its use was inconsistent until it was firmly adopted by the federal government with the Uniform Time Act of 1966.

All U.S. states but Hawaii, Arizona (except the Navajo Nation) and the overseas territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands observe daylight saving time.

The problem with daylight saving time is that it doesn’t save any energy.

Yale environmental economists Matthew Kotchen and Laura Grant studied this change, comparing the before and after use of electricity from county to county. The study found that “contrary to the policy’s intent, DST increases residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, but we find that the effect is not constant throughout the DST period.”

What once may have been true is not the case now. Daylight saving time is an inconvenience with no tangible benefit. It’s a relic of a bygone age, and it’s time to reevaluate its continued practice.