When Is Daylight Saving Time 2018?

Why Do We Change Our Clocks? DST Dates & History

daylight-saving-time-clock

When did Daylight Saving Time 2018 begin and when will DST end? Find dates here—as well as the history of Daylight Saving Time, which highlights the seemingly endless debate about saving daylight and changing our clocks.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac (around since the beginning of time or, at least, Benjamin Franklin’s day) answers your frequent questions …

What Is Daylight Saving Time?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of moving the clocks forward one hour from Standard Time for the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall. The general idea is that this allows us all to make better use of natural daylight. However, DST has many detractors.

Note that the term is “Daylight Saving Time” and not “Daylight Savings Time” with an “s” at the end of “Saving.” (The word “saving” is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.)

When Is Daylight Saving Time 2018?

To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often use the expression, “Spring forward, fall back.”

DST began on Sunday, March 11, 2018, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring forward” in the spring and set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour). 

DST ends on Sunday, November 4, 2018, at 2:00 A.M. At this time, we “fall back” in the fall by setting clocks back one hour (i.e., gaining one hour).

    Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks at Saturday bedtime.

    Daylight Saving Time Dates

    (The exceptions to DST are Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.)

    Year Daylight Saving Time Begins Daylight Saving Time Ends
    2018 Sunday, March 11 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 4 at 2:00 A.M.
    2019 Sunday, March 10 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 3 at 2:00 A.M.
    2020 Sunday, March 8 at 2:00 A.M. Sunday, November 1 at 2:00 A.M.

    The History of Daylight Saving Time

    Does changing the clocks really provide benefits? We’ll let you be the judge. 

    Blame Ben?

    Benjamin Franklin’s “An Economical Project,” written in 1784, is the earliest known proposal to “save” daylight. It was whimsical in tone, advocating laws to compel citizens to rise at the crack of dawn to save the expense of candlelight:

    Every morning, as soon as the Sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing: and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street to wake the sluggards effectually… . Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it is probable that he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening.”

    DST’s True Founder? 

    The first true proponent of Daylight Saving Time was an Englishman named William Willet. A London builder, he conceived the idea while riding his horse early one morning in 1907. He noticed that the shutters of houses were tightly closed even though the Sun had risen. In “The Waste of Daylight,” the manifesto of his personal light-saving campaign, Willet wrote, “Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shrinkage as the days grow shorter; and nearly everyone has given utterance to a regret that the nearly clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used… . That so many as 210 hours of daylight are, to all intents and purposes, wasted every year is a defect in our civilization. Let England recognise and remedy it.”

    Willet spent a small fortune lobbying businessmen, members of Parliament, and the U.S. Congress to put clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and reverse the process on consecutive Sundays in September. But his proposal was met mostly with ridicule. One community opposed it on moral grounds, calling the practice the sin of “lying” about true time.

    World War I Led to Adoption of DST

    Attitudes changed after World War I broke out. The government and citizenry recognized the need to conserve coal used for heating homes. The Germans were the first to officially adopt the light-extending system in 1915, as a fuel-saving measure during World War I. This led to the introduction in 1916 of British Summer Time: From May 21 to October 1, clocks in Britain were put an hour ahead.

    The United States followed in 1918, when Congress passed the Standard Time Act, which established the time zones. However, this was amidst great public opposition. A U.S. government Congressional Committee was formed to investigate the benefits of Daylight Saving Time. Many Americans viewed the practice as an absurd attempt to make late sleepers get up early. Others thought that it was unnatural to follow “clock time” instead of “Sun time.” A columnist in the Saturday Evening Post offered this alternative: “Why not ‘save summer’ by having June begin at the end of February?”

    WWI-era Daylight Saving Postcard

    The matter took on new meaning in April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson declared war. Suddenly, energy conservation was of paramount importance, and several efforts were launched to enlist public support for changing the clocks. A group called the National Daylight Saving Convention distributed postcards showing Uncle Sam holding a garden hoe and rifle, turning back the hands of a huge pocket watch. Voters were asked to sign and mail to their congressman postcards that declared, “If I have more daylight, I can work longer for my country. We need every hour of light.” Manhattan’s borough president testified to Congress that the extra hour of light would be a boon to home gardening, and therefore increase the Allies’ food supply. Posters chided, “Uncle Sam, your enemies have been up and are at work in the extra hour of daylight—when will YOU wake up?”

    With public opinion in its favor, Congress officially declared that all clocks would be moved ahead one hour at 2:00 A.M. on March 31, 1918. (Canada adopted a similar policy later the same year.) Americans were encouraged to turn off their lights and go to bed earlier than they normally did—at around 8:00 P.M.

    Farmers Did NOT Favor DST

    Many Americans wrongly point to farmers as the driving force behind Daylight Saving Time. In fact, farmers were its strongest opponents and, as a group, stubbornly resisted the change from the beginning.

    When the war was over, the farmers and working-class people who had held their tongues began to speak out. They demanded an end to Daylight Saving Time, claiming that it benefited only office workers and the leisure class. The controversy put a spotlight on the growing gap between rural and urban dwellers. As a writer for the Literary Digest put it, “The farmer objects to doing his early chores in the dark merely so that his city brother, who is sound asleep at the time, may enjoy a daylight motor ride at eight in the evening.”

    The Daylight Saving Time experiment lasted only until 1920, when the law was repealed due to opposition from dairy farmers (cows don’t pay attention to clocks). No fewer than 28 bills to repeal Daylight Saving Time had been introduced to Congress, and the law was removed from the books. American had tolerated Daylight Saving Time for about seven months.

    Daylight Saving WWI-era poster

    DST Returns 

    The subject did not come up again until after the attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, and the United States was once again at war.

    During World War II, Daylight Saving Time was imposed once again (this time year-round) to save fuel. Clocks were set one hour ahead to save energy.

    After the war (which concluded with Japan’s final surrender on September 2, 1945), Daylight Saving Time started being used on and off in different states, beginning and ending on days of their choosing.

    Local Differences and Inconsistency

    Inconsistent adherence to time zones among the states created considerable confusion with interstate bus and train service. To remedy the situation, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, establishing consistent use of Daylight Saving Time within the United States: Clocks were to be set ahead one hour on the last Sunday in April and one hour back on the last Sunday in October.

    That was the rule, but some state legislatures took exception via a loophole that had been built into the law. Residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona did not change their clocks. Residents of Indiana, which straddles the Eastern and Central time zones, were sharply divided on Daylight Saving Time: Some counties employed it, some did not.

    In 1986, the U.S. Congress approved a bill to increase the period of Daylight Saving Time, moving the start to the first Sunday in April. The goal was to conserve oil used for generating electricity—an estimated 300,000 barrels annually. Still, some resistance remained:

    • In 1997, a bill was introduced to end Daylight Saving Time in Nevada.
    • In 2001, the California legislature requested that its state be allowed to enact Daylight Saving Time year-round in order to eliminate rolling blackouts caused by the electricity crisis in that state.

    Neither of these proposed changes came to pass.

    Daylight Saving Time Today

    The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. As a result, most Americans now spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.).

    However, even today, farmers’ organizations lobby Congress against the practice, preferring early daylight to dry their fields and a Standard Time sunset for ending their work at a reasonable hour. Some farmers point out that the Daylight Saving Time is deceptively misnamed. “It is a gimmick that changes the relationship between ‘Sun’ time and ‘clock’ time but saves neither time nor daylight,” says Katherine Dutro, spokesperson for the Indiana Farm Bureau.

    Most of Canada is on Daylight Saving Time; only portions of Saskatchewan and small pockets of British Columbia remain on Standard Time year-round. However, the practice has its detractors. In the words of a current-day Canadian poultry producer, “The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us.” Similarly, one Canadian researcher likened an increase in traffic accidents to the onset of Daylight Saving Time. Other experts insist that the extra hour of daylight reduces crime. 

    Calculate your local sunrise and sunset times!

    Share your thoughts about DST below—and see readers’ comments from the past. As you can see, our Almanac readers are quite passionate about this topic!

    Reader Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Why not just move the clock

    Why not just move the clock ahead 1/2 hour and leave it there as the new "standard" time year round. You still get the later sunset in the summer but eliminate the shock effect of changing the time so early in the year.

    WHY NOT JUST MOVE THE CLOCK?

    Brilliant idea, Danny! But would any Congressman (or Senator) understand and appreciate your fabulous idea? I think you should go to D.C. and sell it! I'm all for your solution!

    DST

    Only a fool would cut a foot off the end of a blanket, sew it on the other end and think there is a longer blanket...

    Re: DST

    Lots of fools that we've elected in the Senate and Congress, Don. They only work 3 days a week. Maybe they're home sewing on the other two "work days"? I'm sure they have lots and lots of blankets (and quilts) on their compensation. So, if we can't convince those idiots, we must live with DST??? I love your logic!

    Daylight Saving Time

    I really don't like Daylight Saving Time. I'm in Florida and feel that we don't save any money on electricity in the summer months. I wish we were on Standard Time all year.

    DST

    I also believe DST is antiquated. I wish Colorado would follow Arizona's lead and just leave it be.

    DST

    Spring the clocks forward and then leave them there year round. It is better for everyone and there is not a disruption any longer.

    DST

    Year-round DST doesn't work. We tried it in the winter of 1973-74 because of the "energy crisis", and it was a disaster. It was still dark at 8 a.m., kids were getting hit by cars while waiting for school buses or walking to school, and everybody simply hated it. Also, any energy that was saved by the extended daylight in the early evening was used during the darkness of the morning.

    Dst

    Worst time of the year! I get up for work just after 3a.m, so I always lose even more precious sleep! !

    no i hate the day and the sun that long !!! or at all

    NOT FOR EVERYONE,SPEAK FOR YOURSELF,I HATE ALL THAT DAYLIGHT, AND SUN AND MORE HEAT UNTIL 9;30 PM !!!! i get so depressed and very angry,this time of year,i hate being hot,and my air having to run xtra hard and long all summer and summer last 4eveeer,it is not fair !!!! as it is we barely get any winter anyway,to cool off and enjoy the early dark months :'(

    Daylight Savings Time = Highway Robbery

    Giving up an hour and then having to wake up earlier for 8 months feels wrong. As though some one borrowed something very precious and didn’t return it and when they finally did give it back they say they will need it again in 4 months!? How is that supposed to make US feel? We are living in an age where starlight doesn’t matter because it doesn’t make anyone any money. Corporate America sells fear to manipulate and control the working poor. They have people so worried about thieves in the night that all they worry about is LIGHT! They don’t see that they we are all of US being robbed every morning of an hour of sleep and every night of spiritual starlight. I strongly suggest that if you want to save money so desperately, turn off all the street lamps and other unnecessary electrical lights/appliances so we can have starlight. CANCEL DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME so that we can get our much needed sleep without feeling highjacked each morning! Do away with light pollution and get our stars back.

    Antiquated Practice!

    Great article on the origins and implementation. DST is a ridiculous and antiquated concept. In our 24 hour society, it no longer makes any sense. "Time" to repeal this silliness. I am happy to be in Arizona where we get by just fine without it. The cows have it right!

    Too Early In the Year.....Good for Summer not Winter in Canada

    We have about 4 more weeks of Winter in Canada. We are just starting to getting up in the light each A.M. and now we are forced to get up in the dark once more for the next two to three weeks. It doesn't need to be so early. Mid-April would be early enough and better for us.
    Who do we see about changing this problem? No one knows who is in charge of this disgusting problem. Sometimes the face of government can't be reached and people develop more hatred of government when they have no accountability or ability to affect change. Have you noticed how many of your readers are unhappy with DST and have no ability to affect change? Again, who can make the change?

    st

    We were the first ones on the bus didn't matter what time we were on it was always dark when we got on and we didn't care. Trust me we were not there saying we wish it was light out js. Lighter in the evening is what we wanted so we could play more and get things done. I vote to leave it on daylight saving time. .

    DST

    It already is getting light out earlier in the morning, and staying light out later in the early evening. And this would continue. I don't know why, they can't just leave the time the way it is. I don't like it being light outside in Summer until 9pm!- Not necessary, and young children don't want to go to bed, when the sun is still out,

    Daylight Saving time

    Why not do it tear round now or just stop, It drives me nuts! Anybody else?

    DST

    Everyone talks about how they dislike DST. It seems that the majority dislike it. One thing is for certain the days get longer and shorter regardless of what you set your clock to. You don't gain anything by changing the time on the clock. With that being said you should organize a writing campaign and get DST removed for good. Write to your government and tell them you want it to go away and there is no amount of research that can currently justify it. You either run the lights in the morning or you run them in the evening. Take your pick. There isn't a single reason to talk about if you are not going to do something about it.

    DST

    I think it's wonderful. More daylight in the evening is the best thing EVER! It seems to always be dark in the morning, so what matter does it make to switch back to the old Standard Time. It's a WIN-WIN for those of use who love the daylight and despise the dark. Please tell me how we can get it changed to DST 12 months of the year!

    DST

    It's the fact that we have to change time twice a year and disrupt our lives. I'm in favor of DST all year. I really disliked the sunset at 4 pm when I lived up north. Wasn't much fun for the deer either.

    Hate DST!

    I lived in Arizona for a while and not changing to DST was wonderful!

    Stop the Insanity

    There are so many things wrong with Daylight Saving Time that I could write a book on the subject, but here are some of the most horrendous problems it causes:

    It is supposed to save energy, but actually it wastes it. Several generations ago, lights were responsible for a significant percentage of the electrical demand for the average home; however, that has all changed. Now we have many different electrical devices in our homes and lighting accounts for only about 15% of our electrical use. As LED lighting becomes more affordable that figure should become almost insignificant. For many of us, the biggest electrical user in our home is air conditioning. Most of us turn the thermostat up when we leave the house in the morning, then bring it back down in the evening when we arrive home. Therefore, during Daylight Saving Time the AC unit runs hard for an hour longer in the evening, costing us much more than what we may have saved in lighting.

    Daylight Saving Time is terrible for wildlife. Many wild animals are most active in the hours just before dawn and spring time is mating season for most of them. So, now we are driving to work in the dark when the wildlife is most active and not paying attention because they have other things on their mind and they get hit by cars. There is always a large increase in road kill during the first month or two of Daylight Saving Time.

    I have saved the worst for last. Every year there is an average of nearly a dozen children in this county that are hit by cars while walking to school in the dark. No advantage that Daylight Saving Time could possibly offer is worth that.

    End daylight saving time

    This time change had its day in an agrarian society. It messes people up- people are late to work, accidents happen, productivity is slowed down because people's sleep patterns are messed up, same with kids. It's time to end DST. We should all write to President Trump and ask him (as well as our congress people) to end the nonsense.

    DST

    There is no longer a need for DST. How does it save energy when you're using energy in the morning and hr earlier than normal. Children are left standing waiting for the school buses in pitch dark spring and fall. Our biological clock doesn't coexist with the change either. It leaves people in a sleep deprived state, agitated,unable to work to full capacity. End it now!

    DST

    I really dislike DSL. It takes two weeks to for all of us to adjust - twice a year. The neighborhood school children will be getting on buses in the dark next week, again, just when it had started to be light in the morning for them! The animals are on EST so the only thing that changes is the clock. Time change is a drag on the body and the schedules! End this silly time practice!

    Dst should be done away with

    With a new age needs to come a new standard. I think we should remain on fast time. I enjoy the longer daylight in the evening and can get more accomplished, times have changed, lights stay on 24/7 in most places. Plus there is a proven drop in work production for over 2 weeks during this change of time either way.

    DST

    End it or leave it year round. It is just getting light enough in the am for kids at bus stops and the time goes forward next week. Makes no sense. Keep it and forget about these 2 yearly changes in our lives.

    DST

    I say make DST permanent. There are all sorts of reasons why an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day is a good thing. However, to avoid school bus accidents and kids getting injured or killed in dark early morning, simply start school an hour later.

    DST

    I absolutely love it when the time changes to DST. I like and need the extra hour of daylight in the evening and If I got my wish the govt. would change the time to DST year round.

    Daylight Saving time

    I'm with the cows. Changing the time on a clock does not affect my body clock. I hate it It hurts.

    Meet half way.

    Why don't they change the Daylight savings time once more from 1 hour to 1/2 hour.
    Meet in the middle and get rid of the time change completely.

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