If you’re like me, someone who thoroughly enjoys sleeping, you felt the hour loss of sleep yesterday. Every year when the time is about to change, whether for or against our sleeping bodies, I hear people having discussions about why we even change our clocks, where did this start, how come certain states don’t observe DST?
It’s amusing to listen to the theories and explanations. I myself always claimed it started as a way to conserve energy, fuel specifically. Although, I wasn’t far off in what I thought were tall tales, I decided this year I wanted to know the real reasons behind my gain and loss of an hour every year.
According to National Geographic, the concept of a standard time and time zones began back in 1883 when the railroad industry was booming and there was a need for standardization to control stations and stops.
There had been acts here and there to implement daylight savings, but most states had the ability to choose for themselves and it wasn’t a concept realized and accepted by the majority of policy makers and enforces. Not until, (and this is where I’m sort of right) World War I. Unfortunately, America can’t claim right to being so forward thinking, rather Germany made the time change official, hoping to reduce the use of artificial lighting and save coal for the war.
However, picky states could still choose to opt out of the time fluctuation, until World War II, when the United States made it mandatory for the entire country – again, to save wartime resources. Then again in the early 70′s with the Arab oil debacle, the United States enforced daylight savings, and did actually decrease the country’s oil use. Last but not least, in 2005 the government passed the The Energy Policy Act. This is when DST got pushed back, and became four weeks longer in hopes that 10,000 barrels of oil could be saved each day.
So there it is – after reading the explanation from National Geographic, I feel somewhat validated in my blabbering about fuel conservation as the reason for DST…even if all of the studies go on to say, they aren’t really sure if much energy is even saved and there has yet to be any proof it works. At least we can all feel educated when throwing around theories next November.