Daylight Saving Time was used during WWI, WWII and the 1970’s oil crisis to reduce the use of oil. It worked then, but times have changed. The energy load from air conditioners has grown to be a bigger part of the national energy pie.
A reduction in energy used for lighting is more that offset by an increase in air conditioning usage when we shift our clocks to DST.
When the recent extension of Daylight Saving Time was proposed, lawmakers noted; energy savings, less crime, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity with the extra sunlight in the evening.
A study of electric bills in Southern Indiana showed electric usage went up when daylight savings time was used in parts of the state where it had not been used before.
It is the Economy Stupid
People really do buy more goods after work when they are given more daylight to shop in. Industries that rely on evening activity such as golf and the barbecue industry benefit from daylight savings time.
Daylight saving time promotes sales of charcoal briquettes, oil based “starter fluid” and gas grills. Cooking outdoors does reduce the home air conditioning load, but that is not why we do it.
Oil companies profit from daylight saving time because it leads to more leisure evening driving. This uses more imported oil not less.
A study by the RAND Corp. analyzing 28 years of crash data found that in the weeks after springing forward, there was an 8 percent to 11 percent drop in traffic accidents involving pedestrians and a 6 percent to 10 percent drop in vehicular crashes.
There are more traffic accidents in the morning with DST, but they are more than compensated for by a bigger decrease in accidents in the evenings because of the delay in darkness. The delay in darkness results in more, but safer, evening traffic headed to the shopping Mall.
A few small studies have found some reductions in crime. Criminals do not usually get up early in the morning, regardless of time of year. People feel safer and are safer when they are walking to their car in the daylight.
Does it save energy when folks leave their over heated houses to go shopping in the evening? It may save electricity but more gasoline is used.
Facts if life
- Extended Daylight Savings Time results in more economic activity.
- Government revenue goes up by taxing that economic activity.
- Government controls the time of day, so we have extended DST.
The Global War on Terror is not why we are on extended Daylight Savings Time; the economy is why we have extended DST.
The U. S. Military is at war, but Americans are at the shopping Mall.
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