Daylight Saving Time Facts and Myths

(Last Updated On: March 5, 2020)

Daylight Saving Time Facts

Four Daylight Saving Time Facts

It is ‘daylight saving time’.

The first of our daylight saving time facts is that it is, ‘daylight saving time’, not ‘daylight savings time’. A review of the original Uniform Time Act of 1966 reveals no reference to ‘saving’ or ‘savings’. However, when Congress expanded daylight saving time in 1999, the amendment was referred to as the Expansion of Daylight Saving Time Section 2 (a) of Pub.L. 99-359. The text refers to daylight saving time repeatedly. A prior public law, the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973, also omits the second ‘s’. There is some speculation the term ‘daylight savings time’ entered the vernacular due to the common use of the word savings in terms such as savings account.

It’s becoming less popular.

The fact is, daylight saving time is becoming increasingly unpopular. Rasmussen Reports, which studies public opinion, polled 1,000 adults regarding the popularity of daylight saving time over the course of several years. In 2012, less than half the country, 45 percent, supported daylight saving time. The number dropped to 37 percent in 2013. And in 2014, only 33 percent of Americans stated they thought it was worth the hassle.

Not all of the world observes it – nor all of the US.

While a large chunk of Australia and most of Europe observe daylight saving time, most Asian nations, as well as most of Africa, don’t. In countries near the equator, for example, the amount of sunlight is relatively constant. Therefore, it doesn’t really make sense to adjust time to take advantage of extra sun.

In the United States, Hawaii and parts of Arizona also don’t observe daylight saving time.

You can test your knowledge of countries with daylight saving time here.

Daylight saving began as part of the war effort.

Daylight saving time was originally introduced during World War I as a way of taking advantage of usable daylight hours. First used by Germany, and designed as a temporary measure, England, France, and the United States eventually adopted the measure as well. Most countries, including the United States, abandoned daylight saving time until World War II, when it was then re-implemented. Between the end of World War II and the 1966 Uniform Time Act, states were free to use or abandon daylight saving time.

Four Myths About Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time was started by Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin was well known for his frugality and common-sense approach to life. In his autobiography, while discussing the utility of cleaning the streets of London each morning, he noted in passing the wastefulness of London’s inhabitants. He observed how they often complained about the tax on candles and the high price of tallow, all the while choosing to live the evenings by candle light and sleeping during the sunshine of the early morning. However, it is an unavoidable daylight saving time fact Benjamin Franklin did not implement the concept.

Daylight saving time was developed for the convenience of farmers.

Farmers tailor their daylight work around daylight hours, regardless of what the clock says. However, the true beneficiaries of daylight saving are retailers. From shopping in the evening on the way home from work, to squeezing in a quick nine on the golf course, people are more willing to spend money in their after-work hours when it is light out. When lobbying Congress to extend daylight saving from six months to seven, the golf industry provided this fun daylight saving time fact: estimated revenues would increase by $400 million. Candy makers also benefit from more light the evening of Halloween.

Daylight saving time saves energy.

Long presented as a daylight saving time fact, this is just not true. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy’s report to Congress, Impact of Extended Daylight Saving Time on National Energy Consumption, found the electricity savings represent about 0.03 percent of the total national energy consumption. Energy savings does occur in evening hours during daylight saving time. However, these savings are offset by increased energy usage during morning hours. 

Daylight saving time causes no harm.

Not true! According to a 2012 study by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the rate of heart attacks increases by 10 percent in the spring, on the Monday and Tuesday after clocks are moved ahead. People observing daylight saving time may find small comfort in the fact that the opposite is true in the fall. When clocks are turned back an hour, the rate of heart attacks decreases. 

Know any other daylight saving time facts or common myths? Let us know in the comments below.

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