And How Much Did it Cost Us To Get This Amendment Written?

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Via Slashdot: Congress is considering making daylight saving time two months longer.

What is behind such a move? Why, energy savings, of course:

"The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use," said Markey, who cited Transportation Department estimates that showed the two-month extension would save the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

Naively using Congress' numbers on this, considering that the projected growth in oil use (at constant dollars, mind you) according to the EIA is from a little over 20 million barrels a day to just about 40 million barrels a day by 2025, that means we're looking at a simple growth of 2380+ more barrels of oil every day in the US. Even if the 10000 bpd figure is net for the new daylight saving period, this gain would be soon swamped*.

Instead of becoming infatuation with being able to "change" time itself, is there any chance we could get Congress to focus on those things that fall a little closer to their purview: government waste.

[* Note that I'm assuming a very simplistic calculation of that savings. That is, I believe they might have said "we use N kilowatt hours of electricity during the average waking dark hour, which requires Q barrels of oil to produce, and there would be R fewer waking dark hours..." Of course, with the price of crude going up, energy will get more expensive, but not as visibly as the price of gas. Might people switch from driving to/from nights out to staying at home and burning more energy during the dark hours? The effect might not seem huge, but Congressmen took time and our money to figure out how to save us around 0.0005% of daily oil use. At that level, minor changes could overwhelm the policy quickly.]

Of course, if two months is good, 12 months should be better, right? How about doing away with the whole thing entirely and get government out of the businesses of setting my watch.

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First of all, it is not true that changing our clocks changes the amount of daylight available. Second, the statement, "The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use," appears to be false. A simple linear regression of electricity usage to m... Read More


I agree. What Congress is saying is that in their opinion people don't wake up early enough, so if they shift the time around maybe they can force people to start waking up when they want them too. How is that the government's business?

But what this really boils down to is that there are negative externalities with the consumption of oil. Instead of addressing these externalities, we are told to "conserve" the oil ... wouldn't it just be better to try and internalize the costs of oil consumption, so that efforts to conserve would be moot anyway?

This is silly. In Seattle on November 1, there are only about 10 hours of daylight. If you're an 8 hour per night sleeper, that leaves you with 6 hours of darkness while you're awake, no matter what.

In summer, it makes sense (though I doubt it saves energy) to move sunrise/sunset from 4:00 AM/8:00 PM to 5:00 AM/9:00 PM. Since most people are asleep from 4:00 AM to 5:00 AM, but not from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. So, in a sense, you DO save daylight in the summer, by moving it to a more useful time for most people.

But you can't pull the same trick off much beyond (or prior to) the equinox.

I am all for daylight savings time being extended all year. It is a bummer when the sun goes down at 4PM in the winter!

You know, Indiana doesn't do daylight savings time. There is ample evidence there to econometricise this issue.


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