Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

March 9, 2009

Daylight Saving Time Is A Waste Of Time

by Doug Mataconis

If it wasn’t bad enough that Congress totally threw off my sleep schedule, it turns out that the entire idea of Daylight Saving Time being an energy-saver is a hoax:

The history of Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been long and controversial. Throughout its implementation during World Wars I and II, the oil embargo of the 1970s, consistent practice today, and recent extensions, the primary rationale for DST has always been to promote energy conservation. Nevertheless, there is surprisingly little evidence that DST actually saves energy. This paper takes advantage of a natural experiment in the state of Indiana to provide the first empirical estimates of DST effects on electricity consumption in the United States since the mid-1970s. Focusing on residential electricity demand, we conduct the first-ever study that uses micro-data on households to estimate an overall DST effect. The dataset consists of more than 7 million observations on monthly billing data for the vast majority of households in southern Indiana for three years. Our main finding is that—contrary to the policy’s intent—DST increases residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, but we find that the effect is not constant throughout the DST period. DST causes the greatest increase in electricity consumption in the fall, when estimates range between 2 and 4 percent. These findings are consistent with simulation results that point to a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. We estimate a cost of increased electricity bills to Indiana households of $9 million per year. We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions that range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. Finally, we argue that the effect is likely to be even stronger in other regions of the United States.

Then let’s get rid of it, right ?

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  • Akston

    YES!

    Contrary to popular belief, government does not actually have control over the movement of planets and other laws of nature.

  • Jim Huffman

    I notice your Ronald Reagan quote –
    “Concentrated power has always been the enemy of
    liberty”
    If that is true then our concentrated military
    power is the enemy of liberty throughout the
    world.
    Personally do not believe that is true. However,
    quoting people out of context can be a refuge of
    scoundrels.

  • Norm

    “If that is true then our concentrated military
    power is the enemy of liberty throughout the
    world.” Maybe not now but history shows us eventually.

  • Akston

    Jim,

    Which quote do you see as out of context? I looked for the context of the Reagan “Concentrated power” quote and couldn’t find it. If that’s the one, would you have a link for the speech or writing it came from? I’d appreciate it.

  • tfr

    I’d like to see permanent DST, i.e. never go back to standard time. The single good thing Bush ever did was bump up DST hours.

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