DST, another government intrusion into our lives.
One hundred years after Congress passed the first daylight saving legislation, more and more people are doubting the wisdom of changing the clocks.
In August, the EU Commission proposed ending the biannual practice.
Last winter, lawmakers in Florida passed the “Sunshine Protection Act,” which will make daylight saving a year-round reality in the Sunshine State.
If approved by the federal government, this will effectively move Florida’s residents one time zone to the east, aligning cities from Jacksonville to Miami with Nova Scotia rather than New York and Washington, D.C.
The cost of rescheduling international and interstate business and commerce hasn’t been calculated. Instead, relying on the same overly optimistic math that led the original proponents of daylight saving to predict vast energy savings, crisper farm products harvested before the morning dew dried and lessened eye strain for industrial workers, Florida legislators are lauding the benefits of putting “more sunshine in our lives.”
It’s absurd – and fitting – that a century later, opponents and supporters of daylight saving are still not sure exactly what it does. Despite its name, daylight saving has never saved anyone anything. But it has proven to be a fantastically effective driver of retail spending.[…]
Today we know that changing the clocks does influence our behavior. For example, later sunset times have dramatically increased participation in afterschool sports programs and attendance at professional sports events. In 1920, The Washington Post reported that golf ball sales in 1918 – the first year of daylight saving – increased by 20 percent.
And when Congress extended daylight saving from six to seven months in 1986, the golf industry estimated that extra month was worth as much as US$400 million in additional equipment sales and green fees. To this day, the Nielsen ratings for even the most popular television shows decline precipitously when we spring forward, because we go outside to enjoy the sunlight.
But the promised energy savings – the presenting rationale for the policy – have never materialized.
In fact, the best studies we have prove that Americans use more domestic electricity when they practice daylight saving. Moreover, when we turn off the TV and go to the park or the mall in the evening sunlight, Americans don’t walk. We get in our cars and drive. Daylight saving actually increases gasoline consumption, and it’s a fallacious substitute for genuine energy conservation policy.