Last Sunday, people in the US moved their clocks one hour ahead as part of the biannual ritual associated with Daylight Savings Time. And each time we do this, people complain about the disruption it causes. To add to the confusion, some states such as Arizona and Hawaii do not make any change.
The main reason originally given for the change is that it would save energy but studies have shown that not only is there no appreciable energy savings, there is evidence of an increase in energy use.
While the government continues to claim that the country reduces electricity use for each day during DST, Downing says we come nowhere near that. Some studies do report small reductions in electricity use, but the most comprehensive study of household energy demand and many others report an increase in overall energy consumption ranging from 1 to 4 percent during DST.
So why persist in this? The reasons are likely economic.
According to Downing — author of “Spring Forward, The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time” — the industry claimed “one more month of daylight savings meant $200 million more in selling of barbecues and charcoal.”
“For the golf industry, one more month of daylight savings meant $400 million more in green fees and equipment sales,” he said, adding “and that was the industry estimate 25 years ago.”
Given that golf is a game that is largely the province of the wealthy and politicians seem to also love it, you can be sure that they will strongly oppose any change that will reduce the time they have in the evenings to play.