Spring forward; it’s that time of year again

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Since daylight saving time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, it’s apropos to think about the reasons for the twice-yearly time shift. So it’s time for a quiz.

But first, the ritual must be followed. Before you go to bed Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour. The official time change happens at 2 a.m. Sunday. If the setting of the clocks is neglected, one could show up late for work, church, bingo or even that meetup at the local fishing hole.

Its also a good idea to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors as you’re setting your clocks. Change the batteries if required.

You’ll lose an hour sleep, but you’ll gain it back in November when we do the hokey-pokey back to standard time.

The quiz

Daylight saving time was invented to help farmers, reduce traffic deaths and conserve energy. True or false?

Surprisingly, the answers are all false.

Starting with the energy question, Michael Downing, author of the book “Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time,” says that the original study that showed a savings in energy only focused on home electricity use. Later studies brought gasoline energy use into the picture, since people drive more when natural light remains later in the day.

“When you give Americans more daylight at the end of the day, they get into their cars,” Downing said.

Downing added the gasoline industry has been a longtime supporter of the time change, also noting that the extended after-work sunlight hasn’t been proven to reduce traffic accidents, as sometimes claimed. And a 2008 University of California, Santa Barbara, study of Indiana — a state that did not implement Daylight Saving Time until 2006 — found that daylight saving time actually increased residential energy use to the tune of $8.6 million, with the biggest increase in household energy occurring during the autumn months. And this study didn’t even take into account gasoline use.

So the farmers must get some benefit from daylight saving time, right? Wrong.

“Farmers were vociferously opposed to Daylight Saving Time. They hated it from the start,” Downing said. “Farmers really used morning sunlight. Turning the clocks ahead had the effect of giving them one less hour of daylight.”

Downing said many farmers dislike this time of year because it messes with their schedules and their connection to the natural world.

“That dramatic change from having the daylight in the morning to suddenly going back to darkness, it’s kind of jolting,” sustainable farmer Zach Lester, co-founder of Tree and Leaf Farm in Unionville, Virginia, said in an interview with Natural Life magazine.

Lester’s customers are affected by the change, too. When Lester goes to market on the Sunday morning following the time change, shoppers generally start rolling in about an hour later.

So if it’s not farmers, traffic deaths, or energy savings? It must be money.

Downing says golf courses love daylight saving time. Golfers can stay out on the traditionally unlighted courses later in the day and bring more revenue to the owners. Convenience stores sell more gas during daylight saving time as more people are driving farther. People are more likely to shop when the sun is still shining.

Utah bill to end daylight saving time dies again

Once again, two bills that might have brought an end to daylight saving time in Utah were tabled in committee in February. The first, Nonbinding Opinion Questions, designated HB 78 and sponsored by Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, and Senate sponsor Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, was written to modify the election code, setting up a framework to allow ballots to contain public policy questions.

Read more: Daylight saving time inches closer to a ballot question

The second, Joint Resolution – Nonbinding Opinion Question, designated HJR 2 also sponsored by Thurston and Henderson, proposed the opinion question be placed on ballots statewide in 2018 asking whether Utah should be exempt from daylight saving time.

Both bills failed to pass out of committee, the second, HJR 2, failed to pass committee by a vote of 4-5.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • utahdiablo March 11, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    So year after year “we the people” ask for this maddness to end, but we are always overruled by the Tourist industry…85% of Utahn’s want this to end, so hear our voices or get voted out damn soon…time for a change here in Utah as to the good ol’ boys doing our thinking anymore, we demand this change to repeal daylight savings time and it will happen…

    • Chris March 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      complaints like yours have been heard for decades and nothing has changed. the fact is this is an incredibly trivial issue that few people care about, except apparently morons like you. no one has been voted out because they support daylight savings, and your claim that “it will happen” has no basis in fact.

  • riccie March 11, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    Is there any truth that school children and college youth actually preform worse at this time because their cardigan clocks are messed up? Is the same true about employees? Ive been told that traffic accident goes up for about 3 weeks. Thus would the insurance companies put that into their equation for the rates they charge? Those States that do not have DS do they have better grades, more productivity and less insurance costs?

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