A part of the energy bill currently up for a vote amends the Uniform Time Act of 1966 to extend standard daylight time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. Currently standard daylight time runs from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. This will reduce daylight savings time (DST) by four weeks beginning in 2007 if the Department of Energy verifies research that shows the cut would save energy.
The main purpose of DST is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. The Department of Energy says the extra daylight in the evening will help America use less electricity for lighting and appliances. Studies done by the U.S. Department of Transportation in the past show that DST does reduce the country's electricity usage by a small amount. Business owners and sporting groups support the plan saying it would increase retail sales and participation in outdoor activities. Canada is closely watching this measure in the energy bill, and will likely change their DST to match the U.S.
Several groups are opposed to the plan. Airlines are concerned that a change of DST in North America would result in international schedules to become further out of sync with Europe and the rest of the world. The National PTA also is against the extension because it will result in more kids going to school in the dark, creating increased safety risks. The International Association of Fire Chiefs also opposes the extension, as they sponsor the program that encourages homeowners to change the batteries in their smoke detectors when they change their clocks. A longer DST may result in dead batteries in smoke detectors.
What do you think? Should DST be extended?