Friday, March 07, 2008

Daylight Saving Time: Stop the Madness

Daylight Saving Time returns this Sunday morning.

It’s not that I mind getting up early.
I’ve been doing that all my life.
I am accustomed to getting dressed in the dark.

The government in its infinite wisdom believes that moving clocks forward one hour in the spring, thereby allowing an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day, creates an energy savings because, it is believed, we’ll do more stuff later without turning on the lights.

That is a flawed philosophy.
It is a myth.

When do you use most of your electricity?
Getting ready for the day ahead.

Check any house in America between 6 and 8am, as families get ready for school, for work, for the day ahead. Showers running, hot water heaters cranking, breakfast cooking, microwaves humming…hairdryers blowing, steam irons hissing on an ironing board…
You can’t tell me the biggest power use of the day doesn’t come in the morning.

So what does the Government do?
Back-up the process before daylight, so you have to turn on every light in the house to get ready for the day.
Just makes no sense.

The Department of Energy believes extending DST by two months reduces energy consumption by the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil each day. At $104 a barrel those barrels equate to $10.4 million in savings each day DST is extended
However, The Wall Street Journal ran a piece revealing residential electricity usage actually increased between 1% and 4%, worth about $8.6 million a year.

Switching between daylight saving and standard time also has an ''opportunity cost.'' In economics parlance, that’s calculated as the cost of your time at your wage rate.
If you take the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics’ calculation of average hourly wages at $17.57, and assuming that it takes everyone at least 10 minutes to move all of their clocks and watches forward or backward by an hour, the opportunity cost of doing so works out to $2.93 per person.

Multiply that by the total U.S. population (excluding Arizona, those anti-DSTians ) and you're looking at a one-time opportunity cost for the nation of just under $860 million -- or, to be more precise, $858,274,802. Since clocks must be changed twice every year, double the number to approximately $1.7 billion annually.

Silly? Perhaps.
You want the government to tell you what time to get up in the morning??

And yes, I find it a difficult adjustment to wake up an hour earlier. Most of you do, too, deep down. And all next week, we’re going to be dragging around like zombies until our systems become adjusted to the earlier time. Usually takes me until sometime in the Fall, just in time to flip back.

I say leave it alone.

We’re already a 24-7 nation, and fooling with clocks every several months is just toying with our national biorhythm.

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