Day Light Savings Time

There has been quite a bit of political debate in Indiana recently concerning Day Light Savings Time (DST). Most of Indiana is not on DST. Instead, we are on Eastern Standard Time. The result? For a portion of the year, we are in the same time as New York, and for a portion of the year we are in the same time as Chicago. We never change our clocks, we just let 'em run.

Our governer (Mitch Daniels) is hell bent on changing that. When a recent call failed to get the necessary votes to pass the DST plan, Daniels got on the phone and badgered enough Republicans to change their mind. There was a re-vote, and this time it passed. I'm still not sure if the bill says we would go on Eastern or Central time, but it still has a ways to go before it can be enacted into law. Nevermind the fact that the US legislature has already told the state that they may not mandate a time zone to all of the counties.

Why go on DST? Ostensibly to allow for more daylight hours in the evening to be outside. That's the major reason. During the summer, the number of daylight hours increases. We end up with more daylight, both before normal work hours and afterwards. The idea is that, by moving our clocks forward an hour, we wake up earlier in the day and shift those morning daylight hours into the evening. In the fall, as the daylight hours wane, we would move our clocks back.

There are other arguments as well, most of which I put little stock in. Proponents claim that DST will be good for the Indiana economy. That's a pretty fluffy response to just about any bill before the state house. Proponents claim that a large amount of time and money is lost by businesses who must help people outside the state understand how Eastern Standard Time works. Of course, no one has ever presented any hard numbers on this, so it is really difficult to validate the claim. Another claim I saw recently was that, by switching, we could save 10,000 barrels of oil each year due to the decreased use of lighting in businesses. Nevermind that we use 100,000,000 barrels, that reduction would be a trivial 0.01% decrease in usage. Add to that the fact that, if we get home while it is still warm, we're likely to switch on our air conditioning. Air conditioning consumes a lot more electricity than lighting.

From those opposed to going on DST, I've heard people say "Just wake up earlier". The comeback to this one is, "But the businesses I work with won't be up at that hour." Either way, I don't think either argument has much merit. To me, this is a really trivial issue that I wish our legislature would just drop so they could address some of the more important issues. If it were up to me, I'd leave our time where it is now. I don't have to change my clocks, and I don't really have any need for extra daylight. In fact, if we switch to central daylight time, we won't even get the extra daylight benefit. Maybe I'm just a stick in the mud, or afraid of change, but I almost feel like our using standard time is something that sets Indiana apart, and I like that.


Anonymous said...

when I moved to Montana I was soooo against changing my clock...but then I had to and LOVE it you can really tell a difference in how much time you have when you are done with work not to mention the weekend daylight that you get heck right now it gets light for me at 7am and doesnt get dark till 9pm and it is only April (we just sprung ahead 2 weeks ago) come July and the summer solstic (sp) I will be looking at having daylight from about 4am till 11pm. Did i mention I LOVE daylight savings time!!! Once you actually have change your clocks it isnt a hastle and there is really benefit....all i have to say is try it you'll like it :D

Adam said...

We were on DST when we lived in Maryland, and it didn't really bother me to have to change my clocks. I'm not strongly against, just that if I had my druthers, I say keep this little piece of Hoosier oddity intact. It's something that sets our state apart.

Kingery Family Blog said...

I say, leave the time alone. I remember us having DST when I was little...they would tell us at school to remember to change our clocks. I wonder what the arguments for dropping it were!

Karla said...

Wow! I think you struck a chord with this topic! I am for Daylight Savings if we go on Eastern. I know I don't have a say, but that is the one I am rooting for. I grew up in Cincinnati and LOVED being able to play outside for a longer period in the Summer because it wouldn't get dark until almost 9! I don't want to go on Central. Then... our Summer's will still be the same, but during the Winter, it will be dark by 4:00 p.m. Talk about depressing!

Adam said...

This is now officially the most comments I have ever received on a blog post :-)

Jade Mason