Daylight savings time: The case against making it permanent

March 15, 2021 ☼ dstdaylight-saving-timeenergy

Source: The Washington Post - Link

The year was 1973, and the United States was experiencing an energy crisis. Among the proposals put forward by President Richard M. Nixon in a November address was making daylight saving time permanent for the next two winters. Despite scant evidence of daylight saving time’s past benefit on the energy supply (dating back to DST’s various introductions since World War I), Americans really liked the idea. Polling in November and December 1973 showed strong and in some cases overwhelming support — 57 percent in a Gallup poll, 74 percent in a Louis Harris and Associates poll, and 73 percent in a poll from the Roper Organization.

The policy was quickly implemented in early January 1974. But it just as quickly fell out of favor.

In a Roper poll conducted in February and March, just 30 percent remained in favor of year-round daylight saving time, while a majority favored switching times again. Louis Harris polling in March showed just 19 percent of people said it had been a good idea, while about twice as many — 43 percent — said it was a bad one.

A big reason for the about-face? Whatever benefits might have been gleaned by giving people more sunlight in the evening during the winter, it also meant longer, darker mornings. Parents were suddenly sending their kids to school in the cold and the dark for months on end. As the Capital Weather Gang noted, such a change means the sun wouldn’t rise before 8 a.m. in Washington for more than two and a half months, between late November and mid-February. The morning darkness would linger even longer farther north.

Be careful what you wish for. DST is a minor inconvenience.

Note the proper use of “daylight saving time” without the “s”.