DST adopted to save energy

(Photo from Sheridan Media files)

This weekend, Sheridan County and Wyoming residents will join others nationwide in setting our clocks back one hour as daylight saving time ends for the year. But why do we have daylight savings time? Sheridan Media reporter Pat Blair did some research to find the answers.

Daylight savings time was originally proposed as a way to save energy, according to information on the Internet.

Moving the clock forward one hour meant another hour of daylight, one less hour of electric lights, during summer nights.

The first place to adopt daylight savings time was Port Arthur, Ontario in Canada, today’s Thunder Bay. There, residents turned their clocks forward by an hour on July 1, 1908 – the world’s first daylight savings time period.

But the idea didn’t catch on globally until April 1916 when the German Empire and its ally Austria turned clocks ahead to minimize the use of artificial lighting to save fuel for the war effort.

Within a few weeks, the idea was followed by the United Kingdom, France and a number of other countries – including the United States in 1918. The U. S. and most other countries reverted to standard time when World War I ended, and reinstituted it during World War II.

Even today, though, fewer than 40 percent of the world’s countries observe daylight savings time. And though the Uniform Time Act of 1966 established daylight savings time throughout the U.S. in 1966, Arizona, Hawaii and several overseas territories still don’t observe daylight savings time.

In fact, the evidence for energy savings is slim, because lights have become increasingly efficient, raising a question of how much daylight savings time is needed these days.

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