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US Gets Ready for March 9 Daylight Saving Switch

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Published 29-Feb-2008. Changed 10-Nov-2008

Many people in the United States will turn their clocks one hour ahead to convert to daylight saving time on March 9, 2008. This is the second year that the new daylight saving time is put into practice as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

The daylight saving change will affect most of the country, except some states and territories. The United States uses nine standard time zones and zones that observe daylight saving time will move their clocks forward from 2am to 3am at their local time. Daylight saving allows for more light during the evening hours and less in the morning.

Why the 2am Changeover?

Daylight saving time will begin at 2am (when the hour will be pushed forward to 3am) instead of during a normal business hour to minimize disruptions for both people and businesses. Fewer trains operate and many people tend to be asleep at home around this time.

History of US Daylight Saving Time

Standard time in time zones was instituted in the United States by the railroads in 1883 but it was not officially established until 1918 when the Standard Time Act, which also recognized daylight saving time, was introduced. Daylight saving time was abolished in 1919 due to its unpopularity but returned during World War II in 1942. After the war, many states used their own versions of daylight saving time. According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was introduced to provide standardized daylight saving dates throughout the country. Daylight saving time began on the last Sunday in April and ended on the last Sunday in October. The Act allowed for local exemptions from its observance.

During the "energy crisis" years, daylight saving time began on January 6, 1974, and on February 23, 1975. After that period, the starting date reverted to the last Sunday in April. In 1987 daylight saving time was amended to begin on the first Sunday in April. Further changes were made after the introduction of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Energy Policy Act of 2005

Many parts of the United States observed new daylight saving dates in 2007 as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Section 110 of the Act stated that daylight saving time would begin on the second Sunday in March and it would end on first Sunday in November. The Act does not alter the rights of the states and territories that choose not to observe Daylight Saving Time.

Fluorescent Lightbulb

According to a report from California, the extension of DST might have increased the energy use.
Picture:

©iStockphoto.com/sweetym

The Act also stated that Congress retained the right to revert the daylight saving time to the 2005 time schedules “once the Department study is complete”. The Act also stated that Congress retained the right to revert the daylight saving time to the 2005 time schedules “once the Department study is complete”. In October 2008 the report, titled Impact of Extended Daylight Saving Time on National Energy Consumption, found that the extended daylight saving time did save energy as a general rule in most parts of the nation. There have also been other reports published about the effects of daylight saving time on energy usage.

The California Energy Commission also published a report, The Effect of Early Daylight Saving Time on California Electricity Consumption: A Statistical Analysis. According to the report, the extension of daylight saving time in March 2007 had little or no effect on energy consumption in California.

A California Energy Commission staff member released another report, Electricity Savings From Early Daylight Saving Time, in 2007. The report found there was no clear evidence that electricity would be saved from the earlier start to daylight saving time and that there was a chance that there could be a very small increase in electricity.

There is also criticism and praise in the public regarding the new daylight saving time. Complaints include: dark mornings, especially for school children waiting for a bus in some areas; the transport industry’s costs to adjust schedules; and reprogramming computer software and clocks to show accurate time. Those who supported the Act said the benefits included: energy savings, including on lighting for evening sporting events; people having more time to enjoy outdoor activities in the afternoon; and an extra hour of natural light for evening workers such as painters, construction workers and some farmers.

States and Territories Without Daylight Saving

States and territories in the United States that do not observe daylight saving time include: Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and most of Arizona except the Navajo Nation Community. Some parts of Indiana did not observe daylight saving time in the past. However, the entire state is now united in observing daylight saving time since 2006 despite being split into different time zones.

What People Do

Most people remember to change their smoke detector batteries when they push the hour forward for daylight saving time. For others, it is also a time to change their light bulbs. State parks in North Carolina extend their business hours for tourists during the daylight saving period. Some people also enjoy the extra hour of sunlight in the evening by taking up recreational or social activities such as golf.

Dates of Daylight Saving Time 2000–2015

These are the dates Daylight Saving Time started and ended in most of the United States and the planned dates until 2015. There is a chance that future dates will change. Also, note that some locations do not observe DST, but those locations that do should use these common start and ending dates.

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