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  • Congress Should Extend Daylight Savings Time

    Posted by Jonathan on July 28th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Whether this will actually happen is a function of the energy bill now winding its way through the bowels of the Senate, soon to be excreted for the President’s signature. As you may guess I am no fan of this steaming pile of corporate-welfare boondoggles, but I hope that the provision to extend Daylight Savings Time survives to become law.

    Lots of people oppose extension of DST (for a thoughtful summary with links, see this post by Virginia Postrel). There are obvious costs to extending DST, though I don’t think anyone can really know ahead of time whether the costs will exceed the benefits.

    But for me, and I suspect many other people, it’s much better to have extra sunlight in the afternoon than in the morning. Indeed one of the pleasures of summer is the amount of time you get for well-lit outdoor activities in the afternoon and early evening. Postrel prefers to be outside in the cooler darkness rather than the hot light, and to each her own. But let’s not forget that one of the reasons why people move from places like the Midwest to the Sunbelt is sun. Too much sun can be a nuisance, but too little is depressing. Lack of sun in the later part of the day is why winter is so famously bleak at high latitudes. Why make it bleaker than it needs to be here?

    If it were up to me, DST would be in effect year-round. The least Congress could do is extend it for one lousy month, as the latest version of the energy bill mandates.

     

    6 Responses to “Congress Should Extend Daylight Savings Time”

    1. Bruce Chang Says:

      Or, of course, we could completely get rid of DST, and change working hours appropriately.

    2. mishu Says:

      I don’t think anyone can really know ahead of time whether the costs will exceed the benefits.

      Except we do know the costs. The Nixon administration already tried this. Parents of school children hated it. Too many kids were getting hit by crs when travelling to school in the dark. It was abandoned after one year.

    3. Brett Bellmore Says:

      “But for me, and I suspect many other people, it’s much better to have extra sunlight in the afternoon than in the morning.”

      So? Get up earlier, and leave the rest of us alone!

    4. Jonathan Says:

      -I don’t see why schools can’t open later, for this and other reasons. Better to reexamine the old industrial/agricultural model on which schools are now run, rather than handicap the rest of society out of blind respect for an obsolete educational model.

      -No matter how early one gets up, life is better if it’s not dark at 4:45 PM. IOW, taxes aren’t the only reason people migrate to sunny climes. If I wanted to live in Norway I’d move there.

    5. anomdebus Says:

      I’d be okay with it if it were staggered. 2 hours during late spring/summer and 1 hour at the edges.

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      I remember when they tried this back in the 70′s. I lived out in the sticks and had a nearly hour long bus ride to school. I caught the bus at something like 6:50 am. When I they didn’t shift the time I had to walk down my little country road with a flashlight. I did get to see the stars out really bright every morning.

      I think that the current use of daylight saving times is the best compromise. DST saves mostly electricity used in lighting which is not in short supply and is generated almost entirely by non-peteroleum sources in the U.S. so I don’t really see it having any significant impact on gasoline prices.

      Switching now seems like it would be more trouble than it was worth.