Time to Scrap Daylight Saving? 28 Countries May End DST

New Proposals to End Daylight Time

By Catherine Boeckmann
October 29, 2019
Clock in Grass
M.Vich/Shutterstock

It’s a popular myth that Daylight Saving Time is for farmers. This practice—which only became regular in 1966 (which may also surprise you!)—was challenged by farmers and is increasingly being challenged by modern society. In 2019, Europe voted to remove Daylight Saving Time (DST) by 2021. Some states have also questioned the practice. Read on …

Daylight Saving Time in the 1970s

When I grew up in the 1970s, Daylight Saving Time (DST) seemed popular. The government and schools seemed to promote it as a positive and beneficial force. When the clocks moved forward an hour in March, my mother would get a grumpy me out of bed and say, “Look! All you kids have more time after school to play outside!” (Yes, there was a time when more kids played outside.)

Interestingly, DST wasn’t a regular “thing” until April 12, 1966, when President Johnson signed it into law. The Uniform Time Act established a system of uniform (within each time zone) Daylight Saving Time throughout the U.S. and its possessions. States were allowed to opt out (and some did).

Before then, DST was briefly used during World War I and World War II to conserve fuel—and then there was a short stint during the oil crisis of the early 1970’s under Nixon. (Read more about the checkered history of Daylight Saving Time.)

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Photo credit: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving is NOT for Farmers

Despite popular belief, DST has nothing to do with farming. In fact, farmers have often been the strongest lobby against the change. Farmers didn’t like DST when it was first introduced and most don’t like it to this day.

During the first World War I experiment in 1918, farmers were extremely opposed to having to turn back and forward their clocks. Not surprisingly, it disrupted their schedules and made it more difficult to get the most out of hired help.

Imagine telling a dairy cow used to being milked at 5 a.m. that their milking time needs to move back an hour before the milk truck is coming to do a pickup. For the farmer—and the plants and animals—it’s the sun and the seasons that determine the best times to do things.

After the war ended in 1918, the DST law (which lasted 7 months) proved so unpopular with our agrarian society, the federal law was repealed (in 1919). Some state and localities continued the observance.

In the early 1960s, observance of DST was quite inconsistent across U.S. states. Businesses and transportation companies pushed for standardization. The farmers, however, were opposed to it.

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Photo Credit: Zaccio/Shutterstock

Daylight Saving Extended in 2007

In 1986, DST began at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and ended at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.

Beginning in 2007, Congress extended DST with the assumption that energy consumption would be reduced. 

In the United States—as well as Canada—Daylight Saving Time:

  • Ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of November (November 3 in 2019)
  • Begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday of March (March 8 in 2020)

So, Who Benefits From Daylight Saving?

Some constituencies profit from changing our clocks. 

  • For example, today, we drive our cars everywhere. The lobbying groups for convenience stores know this—and pushed hard for daylight saving time to last as long as possible.
  • Extra daylight means more people shop in retail environments. Outdoor businesses such as golf courses and gardening supply stores report more profit with more daylight hours.  

Does DST really conserve energy? According to Congress, this is the main reason for the switch. When the Energy Policy Act extended the hours in 2007, Congress retained the right to revert back should the change prove unpopular or if energy savings are not significant. 

  • Department of Energy report from 2008 found that the extended DST put in place in 2005 saved about 0.5 percent in total electricity use per day. However, the closer you live to the equator, where the amount of daylight varies little, the amount of electricity actually increased after the clocks were switched.
  • In Indiana, where I live, the change to DST in 2006 actually cost us. Matthew Kotchen, a Yale economist, found a 1 percent increase in electricity use in Indiana. Due to higher electricity bills and more pollution, Indiana’s change ended up costing consumers $9 million per year.
  • Further studies in 2008 showed that Americans use more domestic electricity when they practice daylight saving.

Today, as modern society marches forward, the energy argument may become obsolete. In terms of work, we’re not really a 9 to 5 society any more. Factories have different shifts. Office workers use the internet. Farmers will use daylight hours, no matter what. At home, our electricity demand is no longer based on sunrises and sunsets. We drive instead of walking which means daylight saving actually increase gasoline. 

It’s quite possible we are now wasting energy. 

And with computers, TV screens, and air conditioning using more energy, more Americans find switching clocks increasingly unpopular.

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Our Bodies, Our Health

Energy isn’t the only thing to be considered. What about our health? Polls show that the switch between Daylight Saving Time and Standard Time each year is miserable for most humans.

Clocks are man-made. Changing the time disrupts our body clocks or circadian rhythm. For most people, the resulting tiredness is more of an inconvenience twice a year. For many folks, however, it’s a more serious issue.

  • Studies show it leads to more car accidents and heart attacks—the latter by as much as 24 percent.
  • Studies link the lack of sleep at the start of DST to workplace injuriessuicide, and miscarriages
  • In the workplace, studies have found that there is a decrease in productivity after the spring transition.
  • What about November when you get an extra hour of sleep? The reality is that most people don’t sleep extra. And the disruption in the body’s daily sleep-wake cycle can affect sleep for several days.

See 5 tips to help your body to adjust to Daylight Saving Time.

You could argue it’s better for school children (not going to school in the dark); however, I’d disagree.

  • Teenagers definitely don’t do well with DST during the spring change when they lose an hour of morning sleep.
  • And consider the parents with small children; the kid that gets up a 5 A.M. will now be getting up the equivalent of 4 A.M. Parents will certainly lose sleep and spend weeks adapting twice a year—and studies show that their happiness levels are lower.

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A Movement to Abolish DST

Congress allowed states to opt out of Daylight Saving Time—though they they did not allow states to make daylight saving permanent. Either option would mean no clock changes.

  • Most of Arizona does not change its clocks. Perhaps this makes sense given Arizona’s desert climate with hot temperatures and cool evenings.
  • Several states in New England—Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island—have created commissions or introduced proposals to have year-round DST. These areas deal with very early winter sunsets. In New Hampshire, where The Old Farmer’s Almanac is based—the Sun sets at 4:14 P.M. on December 1. See your sunrise/sunset times.
  • California has also considered abolishing the practice.
  • Last fall, the Florida Legislature passed the Sunshine Protection Act to make DST all-year-round—with overwhelming public support. That means no time changes with later sunsets (and later sunrises) all-year long. However, U.S. Congress has not yet approved Florida’s bill. (Remember: States can opt out of DST but they can’t go 100%.) When I think of my state of Indiana, which didn’t adopt DST until a decade or so ago, being out of sync with other time zones did create some problems attracting businesses to the state. 

As history tends to repeat itself, this issue of time zone coordination across the country is a clearly a factor. 

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Our European Counterparts

This brings us to our European contemporaries. They also practice Daylight Saving Time. For most of Europe, DST:

  • Begins at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of March
  • Ends at 1:00 a.m. GMT on the last Sunday of October

However, in 2019, Europe voted to end DST! Specifically, the European Parliament voted on March 26, 2019 in favor of removing Daylight Saving Time (DST) permanently by 2021.

That’s 28 member countries! Each member will have until April 2020 to decide whether to remain permanently on “summer time” or to change their clocks back one final time to permanent standard time, also known as “winter time.”

Other countries have already ended DST:

  • Argentina stopped daylight saving in 2009.
  • Russia ended its daylight saving in 2014.
  • Turkey ended DST permanently in 2016.

Just as is the case with North Americans, the EU population overwhelmingly wants to abolish DST. A poll was conducted in which 80% were in favor of eliminating it.

The head of the European Commission, which originally drafted the directive to end DST, said, “It would be pointless to ask for people’s opinions and not act on it if you don’t agree with them.”

I find it interesting that the Europeans—who first started DST (with North America following)—are now proposing the end of moving clocks twice a year.

What do you think about Daylight Saving Time? Tell us in the comments below!

Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

DST

I consider no more DST as a "no-brainer" decision - majority of people no longer want it & Congress needs to vote on this in a timely manner so they can address more emergent issues!

Keep DST all year long

I wish it was always DST. I hate getting out of the office at 5 in the late fall and winter and having it already be dark. Makes me feel anxious and hate driving in the dark.

Standard time year round

Stop DST. Keep standard time year round.

DST

I am for stopping DST. It makes no since anymore! Just leave it one way or the other.

I believe we should go back

I believe we should go back to Standard Time, because of everything thing you stated. I live in the Southwest, and people function better with Standard Time.

DST

I hate it!

DST

I feel that DST is dangerous for those with diabetes and anyone that works. Let’s set the clocks to standard time and leave them alone.

Daylight Savings Time

ABOLISH DST!!!!! I have a lot of health issues, and when we change to DST, I don't feel good until we change back. It plays havoc with the meds I take. You cannot change your biological clock! DST should have been voted on by the citizens of the state. We should have been our own mouthpiece!! I have signed petitions, emailed our State Reps. several times, but they say either, it's not the right time to do it, or they'll try. I live in Indiana. also, and the state is all cut up with different time zones! Please, please leave us alone!!! ABOLISH DST!!! What can we do, to get this done?

Atlantic Time

If they do end it, Maine needs to switch to Atlantic time! I hate seeing daylight starting to show up in mid-simmer at 02.30, and setting so much earlier than states further west in the eastern time zone. In summer, I would rather see first-light at 03.30 and twilight linger to 22.30 or 23.00 than what we have now as part of the eastern time zone.

DST

Don't like it. I saves nothing, but cost more.

DST

Stop Dst
I am in favor of ending DST

DST

I have said for years that it is unhealthy to change the time. Before I retired the time change would mess with my mind for weeks. Since retiring it's not as bad, as I don't have the same time restraints. I could care less which time would be stable, just so it stays w/o a change~A

Time change

I'm in favor of ending the time change. All it does is cause confusion and changing clocks twice a year is a waste of time.

Scrap Daylight Savings

I reside in San Manuel Arizona and it's a pain when I need to call someone on the East Coast or ever someone in the MidWest.

end clock changes

We need standard time for our health and safety. We need morning light. Adjust your personal schedules if you like, but leave the clocks alone, please.

Daylight Savings Time

Please, please, please eliminate DST. Return America to standard time, PERMANENTLY. The animals will be happier, humans will have less accidents and heart problems. Four months of the year is not long enough to feel normal, for humans or the animals who are on schedules, like milk cows. DST serves no legitimate purpose. There are still only 24 hours in a day. See it like a blanket - pull the blanket down to cover your feet - your chest is cold. Pull the blanket up to cover your chest - your feet are cold. Never has made any sense to me.

DST Do Away with IT......

Like the Majority of the comments made...I too Hope Daylight Savings Time is do away with; Never to Return!!!!

Time change

I'd just as well see all this time change stop. Everyone I know has problems with it. Workers drag in and out, trying to adjust. Even the animals, my cats for example, do not understand why they have to wait. Worse yet, with children having to stand in the dark morning waiting for the bus. With so many children being abducted now days, don't think we, as a country, should allow our children to be placed in this situation. Stop changing the time!!

DST

No matter what we do (DST or EST), you CAN'T make "more" daylight!!!!!!!!! Leave it alone at EST (Eastern time zone).........with today's lack of a "normal" schedule, IT DOESN'T MATTER anymore.....obsolete, outdated and downright dangerous to our health!!!

Dst---st.

With dst one must go to bed while the sun is still up n shining to get 7- 8 hrs of sleep. The sun actually change the work hrs. Not the clock.

I think it should be Daylight

I think it should be Daylight Savings Time all year round. If it were standard time all year, the sun would come up just after 4 AM in the summer, quite early. On the other hand, if it were DST all year round, the sun would come up at around 8:30 near the end of December and early January, which is the latest sunrise of the year. I think you would get more out of your day with a later sunrise, and consequently, a later sunset.

DST

I abhor it!!! It wrecks havoc with my biological clock === and to have it happen when there is not an equal balance to the daylight and nightlight makes it even worse. GET RID OF IT

Daylight Savings Time

With all the meaningless bills Congress votes on, how about one that most people want; no more daylight savings time. It wastes energy and is hard on our bodies creating more health problems. You'd think that Congress would want to "save energy" and "be more mindful of health issues." Go figure! Demolish DST!

DST

Please, stop the time changes.
And it has always been backward to me anyway. Need the day light in the
winter not the summer.

BC Canada

They just passed rules to stay on DST all year. This makes them the same as the time zone beside them, unless they follow their example.
FYI
I see and hear this mistake regularly, even on news reports. Revert means back “revert back” isn’t correct.

DST

Stop it altogether. It’s not healthy & it is expensive.

daylight saying time

its bad all the way around its is why some countrys dont do it any more so why should we thank you mjg

DST

Get rid of it. Only messes with sleep of people and family pets,and farmers. It serves no real purpose.

DST/EST

There is not an animal I know who needs or cares about time, except the human species. Standard time, please. I function much better, physically and mentally, on "winter time" and I won't have explain to the cat why his dinner is late.

DST

I would prefer to have Daylight Savings Time all year, but in any case just stick with one time or the other please.

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