1/31/2005

The Effects of Daylight Saving Time

The Concept of Daylight Savings has been around for a long time. In the article “Saving Time, Saving Energy”, it states that there are three economical reasons for the time switch. The first is that it saves energy. By observing it in the months of March and April we save energy that is equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day. The second is that it prevents traffic injuries. Daylight savings allows people who work and have to school to travel home in the daylight which is safer then traveling in the dark. The third is that it prevents crime. Since people get more done in the daylight it leaves them less exposed to various crimes, which are more likely to happen at night then in the light of day.
The tie to economics here is the demand for daylight. The more daylight, the more energy saved for something else. You might even say that energy is an inferior good to daylight. The more daylight, the less energy demanded. The demand for electricity for lighting our homes is directly linked to when we hit the hay and when we rise in the morning. By adding an extra hour of daylight the demand for energy to light our homes goes down and the desired effects of the government to conserve energy reached.

5 comments:

sandy said...

A fascinating study. I have always been opposed to daylight savings. Never did the thought of it being an economic benefit cross my mind. I'll try to remember this the next time I begrudgingly adjust my clock on hour. However, I did notice the following sentence in the article: "Newer studies, however, reportedly challenge the earlier claims of safety and crime prevention under DST. Further research probably is warranted."

stockton said...

Very interesting post! I had never really known the true reason for daylight savings and their justifications behind it. I always thought it was strictly just to save some daylight hours and make us change our clocks twice a year. The economical benefits from the change are very beneficial-we get more done, whether that is work, play, or whatever else. We save money overall, and the crime goes down. I guess whoever thought of introducing daylight savings was really thinking about the economics behind it all as well.

Dr. Tufte said...

I have heard that daylight savings time saves energy. But I wonder if it is because our schedules are fixed by the hour, but our sunrise isn't. What if we all new the midpoint between sunrise and sunset, kept that more or less constant, and then scheduled relative to that instead of the arbitary hours on a clock?

I think daylight savings time can also be thought of as a way to fit the often fixed times we work into a changing schedule of daylight. I wonder if we would need it if we scheduled things at 3 hours before the middle of the day, rather than (say) 9 AM.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry, I can't stand BS, "paid for" comments like this.

1) Yes, daylight "savings" saves electricity, about 1% of it, in first days. Then effects diminish

2) It doesn't prevent traffic accidents, moreover, it causes a huge spike in traffic and job-related incidents (and yes, deaths too) in first week after the change.

3) It certainly doesn't prevent crime, as by moving a clock one hour here or there YOU DO NOT CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT IS DARK OUTSIDE - pure and simple.

Article is "paid for".

Anonymous said...

good point (not) person who posted before me.

I for one, love DST - as it allows me (and other people who love the outdoors, unlike you) to do more things outside when we want to (later in the day). Wake up earlier you say? Oh sure - I'll just call Joe up at 6am and ask him if he wants to play disc golf. Sure fire way to get a friend to punch you in the face.

Additionally, point 3 is worthless. Of course the same amount of darkeness hours exist, but since DST SHIFTS those darkness hours into time when people are sleeping there are fewer people out in public in the darkness. Everyone whith any sort of social psych knwoledge knows that crime goes down when there are fewer possible vistims.

It's a good thing you have no merit. Whatsoever. (note: sarcasm).