Kotchen & Grant: Eliminate Daylight Time Nationwide

I won’t hold my breath, but it would be quite a thing if Indiana’s switch to Daylight Time led to the elimination of Daylight Time nationwide. Matthew Kotchen and Laura Grant, writing a column in the New York Times cite their study in Indiana for the proposition that Daylight Time should be abandoned.

Indiana’s switchover provided a unique opportunity to study the energy use effects of Daylight Time versus Standard Time:

We found that daylight time caused a 1 percent overall increase in residential electricity use, though the effect varied from month to month. The greatest increase occurred in late summer and early fall, when electricity use rose by 2 percent to 4 percent.

Daylight time costs Indiana households an average of $3.29 a year in higher electricity bills, or about $9 million for the whole state. We also calculated the health and other social costs of increased pollution emissions at $1.7 million to $5.5 million per year.

Essentially, the decreased use of lights during Daylight Time was more than offset by the use of air conditioners late into the evening. The column concludes by suggesting that eliminating daylight time would be consistent with President Obama’s goals of conserving resources, saving money, promoting energy security, and reducing climate change.


  1. chuckcentral says

    It would be nice. We had the perfect compromise for this area when we rightfully didn’t observe DST. Unfortunately Daniels,his Repub cronies, and their lobbyists buddies saw there were gains to be made by forcing the wrong time zone down our throats.

    I have always advocated for a National time zone alignment act that establishes the four time zones and would specifically forbid a state from observing a time zone outside its’ geographical boundary. A provision for counties that are part of a metropolitan area(the Cincinnati counties in SE Indiana) would still retain the right to petition the DOT.

    As it is now a Governor(like Mitchie) and Chamber of Commerce types with close ties to the DOT could theoretically make a case for and put California on Eastern time.

  2. says

    Are there that many people using programmable thermostats? I suppose this makes me a poor environmentalist, but in summer and winter our thermostat stays where it is (not the same year round–78 in summer and 68 in winter). My AC does less work after sunset, but it doesn’t really matter whether that sunset happens at 8:30 or 9:30.

    Of course, the rationale for adopting DST in Indiana had nothing to do with energy savings and everything to do with putting Indiana in sync with the rest of the country. If DST is to be abolished, it’s a decision that she be made nationally, not piecemeal.

  3. Rev. AJB says

    But for those of us on the eastern end of CST; it will mean summer sunrises of 4:00 am and sunsets by 8 pm. Now if they would keep us on CDT year-round I would be ALL for that!

  4. chuckcentral says

    John M
    Sunrises at 7:45AM in New York and Chicago while 8:45AM in Indiana does not exactly put us in sync with the rest of the country. Neither does putting suspect commerce interests above the welfare of the people. Indiana is wholly in the Central geographical time zone. Period. If time zones are not based on geography call them something else. Economic zones?

    And if the rationale had nothing to do with energy savings then why did the Chamber of Commerce use that old 70s energy saving study in their arguments for DST and Eastern time? No. The real rationale was that Eastern time proponents had lobbyists money on their side. Why would so many Politicians break their promises to their constituents at the last minute and vote for DST? Why would Jackie Walorski just happen to miss the key committee hearing where her vote would have killed DST? etc.

  5. says

    It puts us in sync with the rest of the country in that we don’t have to explain “Hoosier time” to every bemused client every six months. We are always in the same position-time wise to the vast majority of the country.

  6. Rev. AJB says

    What do you mean “don’t have to explain Hoosier time?” We had the chance to correct that and it is STILL all messed up! Our state is 160 miles wide and we are still in two time zones. Does that make any sense? I STILL have to explain to people that I might be in Indiana, but I am REALLY on CENTRAL TIME!

    We are always in the same position-time wise to the vast majority of the country.

    Regardless of what time we choose, we will be out of synch with 3 other zones in the continental US.

  7. varangianguard says

    Rationalize time zones! Cede Lake County to Chicago (Illinois can have the other 16 DST counties).


    No more worrying about the pollution in Lake Michigan.

    17 drags on the Indiana economy offloaded elsewhere.

    50% less whining about something I rate about 200, on a National Importance Scale (of 1 to 100). Hello!!! Economy meltdown.

    Thrown some dirt on it, and just set your clock to whatever time you personally feel it to be. Live like you’re in the 19th century again – become a farmer. Eschew technology. Luddites unite!

  8. chuckcentral says

    John M
    That was one of the most overblown overrated arguments for DST. We had been doing the same thing for 30 some odd years. All of a sudden there were major problems? If business was too stupid to grasp hold of something that had been done for that length of time maybe they shouldn’t be in business at all. Sorry I don’t buy it. If you were doing business with an Indiana company and you didn’t know any better you would logically assume that they were on central time, given their location and proximity to Chicago. You certainly wouldn’t think Indiana would be on NY time or that Indiana would be on eastern time when part of Florida is on central time for christsake.

    Enjoy it now because this issue is far from over.

  9. says

    Yes, Rev., but once you explain that, it remains true 365 days a year. As long as Louisville and Cincinnati are in the eastern and Chicago is in the central, Indiana will never be in a single time zone. The problem with Hoosier time, as it applied to 77 of the 92 counties, is that it changed twice a year. If someone in Chicago gets it through his head that Evansville is on Chicago time and Indy is an hour ahead, that is now true all year. Previously, as soon as the person in Chicago figured it out, then the rest of the country changed and chaos ensued.

    What I mean by being in sync is that with the exception of Arizona, we are in the same position relative to the rest of the lower 48 (either on the same time, or one, two, or three hours ahead) all year. In the days when we stood still, our relationship with 46 of the lower 48 states changed twice a year.

  10. Pila says

    Hurray! Abolish DST and put Indiana on Central time. Either that, or go back to EST year round for most of us.

    By the way, John M and others with similar views, I’m living on the Indiana/Ohio border and never had a problem figuring out what time it is/was in points east or west of my location. Nor did I find that the previous situation was difficult to explain to others. Most people got it.

    Them that didn’t/don’t understand time zones can easily get information from the internet, so the whole “the old way was confusing” argument doesn’t hold water. If a person is hopelessly confused, perhaps he or she could simply ask those in far-flung locales, “What time is it in your location?” The he/she could use simple addition or subtraction to figure out the time difference. This would add maybe a few seconds to any business transaction. I would also suggest using GMT/UTC, but people who “can’t figure out what time it is in Indiana” prolly don’t have a clue about that. ;-)

  11. chuckcentral says

    “It’s 4:30 here, and dark. It’ll be pitch black in a few minutes.”

    It’s wintertime. There’s only so much daylight. Plus who wants to be outside in this kind of weather.

  12. chuckcentral says

    I guess my point is that it’s not a matter of preference. Or at least it shouldn’t be. You’re either in one time zone geographically or you’re not.

  13. T says

    Ours was determined by three country commissioners, who later changed their minds. Both decisions were based on preferences rather than geography.

    Daylight saving time rocks. It’s so great, we should do it all year. Central daylight time year round for all Indiana would be a fine thing, indeed.

  14. Pila says

    T: You so sly! ;-) CDT all year is same as EST all year, as you obviously know. But, if EST is repackaged as CDT the kneejerk daylighters will gladly go along.

    A funny story not too far off-topic. A couple of weeks ago, someone from Indianapolis came to Richmond (IN)for a meeting. As soon as she arrived she asked me, “What time is it here?” I replied “Same time as where you came from. We’re always on the same time as Indianapolis.” She was stunned. Just proved my theory that people from a certain large metro area can’t figure out what time it is whether or not we are on DST. :) For the record, DST had ended the previous weekend.

  15. wl3048 says

    I have always advocated for a National time zone alignment act that establishes the four time zones and would specifically forbid a state from observing a time zone outside its’ geographical boundary. A provision for counties that are part of a metropolitan area(the Cincinnati counties in SE Indiana) would still retain the right to petition the DOT.


    How would you handle Tennessee?? I don’t think it’s realistic to have the entire state on one time zone, as Eastern Tennessee (Knoxville, Bristol, Chatanooga, etc) has no businesss being on Central time and likewise Western Tennessee (Memphis) has no business being on Eastern Time zone.

    Likewise, I think it is very unrealistic to expect the whole state of Indiana to be on CDT, as the biggest reason counties that switched from Eastern to Central back to Eastern (IE Knox, Pike, etc) was because of how much people in those counties hated the early sunsets in December, January. If Indiana were to go CDT except the counties that were originally on EDT (Surrounding Louisville, Cincinnati) you would see counties that surround those counties (for example Washington, Jefferson Switzerland Counties) that are a little further out, but in the Louisville, Cincinnati Media Markets petition to go back on EDT and could make a very strong case for it. (Keep in mind each county has the right to petition the feds if they can justify why their county should be moved to a given time zone. Also, Ft. Wayne could make a strong case to be on Eastern Time as part of the media market is in Ohio. So at the end of the day, Indiana would be more fragmented than it was prior to DST being enacted.

    Additionally, DST would have never passed without some of the Democrat support (Sheila Klinker, Carolene Mays, Peggy Welch, Tiny Anderson to name a few) Several outhers (David Orthinker, Terri Austin come to mind) didn’t vote becuase Pat Bauer begged and begged them to voted against it. Even before it passed and arms were twisted (both for and aginst) Pat Bauer (who was dead set against the bill) conceded that it had the votes to pass.

  16. wl3048 says

    Enjoy it now because this issue is far from over

    Chuck Central,

    What makes you say this issue is far from over?? Survey after survey during the governors race showed that this was not even in the top ten in issues with voters. If this was such a pressing issue as your remark suggests the governors race would have been alot closer. Seems to me you are grossly overstating this issue, Additionally, in a couple of surveys that I saw (Don’t have links to them) the gap between those in favor of DST and those opposed had widened since DST’s inception in Indiana showing that this is less of an issue then those opposed to it would like to think………..

  17. says

    We can all go back and explain historically why Indiana observes the ‘wrong time’,but it won’t be undone easily ,because USDOT does not look at sunset and sunrise times as an important criteria for setting TZ boundaries.And that seems to be the principle criterium CT proponents put forward.

    At first all TZ boundaries were optional and early map makers (I have several,one from 1883)simply drew lines at the parallels and assigned TZ (75W,90W and 105W latitudes). Then the railroads started to tweak the times to make it convenient to make train schedules. So what we have now is the continuation of early railroad time zones using transportation and commerce as their criteria for TZ assignment. Road map and atlases as recent as 1939 make the CT/ET meander through Georgia,not honoring county lines, cutting just east of Atlanta as if to say,’choose whatever zone you guys want for your town’.

    That same line also meandered through SW Michigan giving the SW corner the option for CT,and all of Indiana was in CTZ. At that time DST was an option and areas could choose both DST and could even had local option along TZ borders for TZ choice,so time was no issue,and it wasn’t nationally official and no one cared. Also transporation was relatively slow except for trains.Radio,TV and interstates all gradually made time predictability more and more important.

    I grew up in Champiagn-Urbana,IL and I can remember back in late 40s or early 50s going to Mattoon( a town in southern IL),which remained on CST all year round,as did all of Wisconsin,Iowa and Minnestota, whereas in Illinois it seemed to be a county by country choice,with the north part of state nearer Chicago all observing DST. And many complained about CDT in the summer,even in Illinois.

    Then Indiana was sometimes an hour ahead and sometimes the same time and that’s the kind of local option that became confusing and USDOT strove to make uniform by the time act of 1966.Indiana has always been fascinating because different times we have the TZ line slicing through Indiana in different places,but with DST optional,locals could arrange time to please the most people.

    I look at DST being imposed in all of Indiana as the last step in regimentation of DST and TZ. Arizona is still allowed to be different,and will continue probably to be left alone as long nas there isnt regional fighting problem.USDOT will stay out until asked to intervene.

    Ohio was moved to EST in 1927,so at first CTZ was the OH/PA line,with all of KY,TN GA and FL in CTZ,but then we started to see the meandering TZ lines through these states allowing ‘local option’ and that was the start of time chaos,which gradually had to be squelched by new USDOT rulings.

    This is abolutely my own interpretation of history of time,but I do have maps to guide me.

    I would guess the next movment in TZ in Indiana might be with people in SW Indiana if they feel cut-off from the rest of the state by an hour. The completion of I-69 may hasten a desire to rejoin the rest of the state. I don’t know if the SW area observes CT because they mostly like the sunsets or sunrises or if they mostly feel akin to the contiguous areas in IL and KY.

    Since USDOT has to be involved there will be no rearrangment of time zone without a regional relignment including all the states contiguous to Indiana,imo.USDOT gets involved through petitioning and that would have to come from state officials,which basically means Indianapolis.USDOT could do a regional realignment on its own,but would see no need unless locals start the inquiry.

    In summary, Indiana is a victim of TZ and DST conformity coming togther at the western edge of the ETZ. Indiana now has both ETZ and DST but only needs only one or the other.

    People didn’t used to know what TZ they, or others, were in. Many used to insist that Cincinnati was in CTZ because it was same time as Chicago,but all of OH has been on ET since 1920’s but not always observing DST.

    My opinions are my own ,but the time history background I owe to Massons blog.

  18. Pila says

    @wl3048: Don’t assume that being near Ohio means wanting to be on the same time as Ohio.

    Interesting history, Lou. Maybe Arizona doesn’t have people in the seat of state gov’t itching to change the lack of DST situation there.

  19. Rev. AJB says

    Pila-some friends of mine moved to Phoenix a few years ago and asked about this. The main reason why it doesn’t happen is that remaining on MST means that the sun sets early enough on summer evenings for it to cool off a bit to do things outside before it is too late. Kind of the opposite of what us northern, non-desert people want in the summer.

  20. says

    I remember the history of time by living it and I didn’t realize it growing up,but time TZ and DST were a continuing battle from 40s to 1966 Federal Uniform Time ACT and in some places such as Indiana time issues have been still in flux..But I experienced the zenith of time confusion,and that’s proably why time is such a compelling issue for me.

    From mid 1950’s there had been a movement for eastern Indiana to get in sync with OH,but at that time period all observing EST. I can’t speak to who was behind this movement,but it must have been grassroots since it was persistent over a period of years..I would guess it stems from the fact OH and IN observed the same time part of year with CDT and EST and people wanted to stay together all year.EDT was never given a thought,but eastern Indiana along with the capital seemed to have an ETZ culture.

    I have an old highway map of Indiana,1957,where the CTZ/ETZ line was first meandered through eastern Indiana,but making a strategic bend to include greater Indianapolis into ETZ.I assume that a line not honoring county lines as this one was drawn,is an attempt to give local option to adopt whatever TZ/DST the locals want,city by city as Illinois and other states had been doing.

    Time seemed a laissez-faire jurisdiction then with states rights prevailing .USDOT was officially in charge,but saw no need to get actively involved without being petitioned.I don’t know how that line got drawn so casually,but it disappeared next year until early 60s when the first official time zone division map appeared, dividing Indiana in half by TZ,basically following the 1957 line except this time honoring county boundaries.

    From mid 1950’s til the Uniform Time act of 1966 many states tried to balance TZ and DST issue within the state.TZ mostly had been resolved but DST was a constant state battle. DST was either not enacted or enacted in differing periods of time state by state.In WI, DST ended last Sunday in Sept,in,Il last Sunday in OCT,, MN day after Labor Day and Iowa didn’t observe DST at all.

    Indiana always observed DST in the CTZ,but never in the ETZ,but that’s because Chicago had long observed DST and eastern Ohio never enacted DST contiguous to Indiana, until about 1960. What has solidified time and trapped Indiana ( depending on point of view) is that KY extended ETZ and enacted DST and MI now observes DST ,and soon after Indiana adopted EST to be in sync with OH,they opted for EDT.

    So the 1966 legislation was enacted because time chaos of differing DST enactments state by state,and that points out an invariable constant about time. It becomes an interstate issue at such time that there is a general confusion state to state.

    Indiana became ‘trapped’ with DST being a state issue and TZ being a federal issue,but both now becoming assigned.

    As I understand Gov Daniels position he didn’t care about TZ.He gave tacit approval to statewide CTZ in order to get DST passed first,since TZ change was not a state issue anyway,and he probably didn’t foresee it would become an issue after DST was adopted.. He cared about unifying Indiana more from the out-of-state point of view than from an internal perspective,i.e,every state now observes DST in one national,predictable system.He saw no need to fight for CTZ against a very divided constituency.DST was his only issue,imo.

    I will make this point again although it will be refuted. When Indiana stayed year round on EST,it was confusing to enough people to be a problem for everyone. Time needs to be automatic with no thinking.When I lived in Chicago, South Bend and ND football had huge interest. Time was the same part of year and different part of year.Chicago set back clocks half way through football season so it was viewed that South Bend time was different suddenly,so a certain small minority of people traveling to SB always had to check by calling TV or radio stations,or even calling Notre Dame and asking what time the game started.It seemed that every year the same same people were again confused at the same issue. The answer always was the time is the same as it always was in SB,which was still confusing.. This happened year after year with the same people being confused.

    It’s not that people are ‘stupid’,it’s that time is simply not an issue that a certain percentage of people are focused on. I learned from being a school teacher for 35 years that a very small percentage of confused people can cause great dispruption and the same is true with adults and time..

    We tend to think in majorities ,but never underestimate the havoc a small minority can cause for business if they’re confused what time it is somewhere else.I will predict with nearly 100% certainly that Indiana will never return to EST year round.Business would fight it tooth and nail.

  21. wl3048 says

    The first government relations project that GE undertook back in 1953: persuading the Kentucky legislature to move Louisville into the Eastern Time zone.

    An intersting twist to the history of DST in Indiana is that Louisville (see above) was in the Central time zone until 1953 when GE Convinced the Kentucky Legislature to move Louisvile to Eastern Time. This ment the EDT went from the Eastern 1/2 of Kentucky to the Eastern 1/2 of the state after ths switch. I suspect that had Louisville stayed on Central time almost all of Indiana would have stayed on Central time (Except perhaps the few counties by Cincinati)and we probably would have probably been on CDT without alot of the shifting back and fourth that happend in the 60’s.

    But that’s fine with me that it turned out the way it did. I’d much rather have the later sunsets in the Summer, than painfully early sunsets in December……..

  22. chuckcentral says

    Once again w/3048, personal preference should not be the deciding factor when a state wholly lies in one time zone, which Indiana clearly does. Tennessee does not. A lot of people in Colorado might prefer Pacific time or maybe Eastern time. Does that mean they should change it?

    Actually their have been surveys in Indiana done before Mitchies’ DST fiasco that had shown that people preferred Central time or the time observed during the summer months. That’s why the Repubs(this was a Repub/lobbyists led agenda) did everything they could to ensure that their would be no referendum so the people could actually vote on the issue. But this doesn’t mean the issue is going to go away. You will hear more about it next election when the Dems have a gubernatorial candidate who they actually support.

  23. wl3048 says

    Chuck Central,

    There may be diologue on this issue in the statehouse in the Statehouse, however as I pointed out earlier, the gap between the people in favor of DST and against it has widened and I suspect as time goes along it will widen further. Additionally, if this ever comes to a meaningful debate in the statehouse in the future, you will see on onslought of businesses (logistics, retailers, transportation, etc) that will make their case that we should stay on DST and the cost savings for their businesses and the potential for the economy to grow in those sectors which will sway legislators who may be personally in favor of reverting back to no DST reluctant to make the switch.

  24. Robert says

    Hawaii does not observe DST either.

    I have read somewhere that a sparsely populated area of Arizona in the NE corner of that state (the Navajo nation) DOES observe DST.

    The state should go back to the way it was prior to 2007 or go Central.


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