What to you think about this? I like it! The first Sunday in April has always been a day of celebration for me because of the extra hour of daylight tacked onto the end of the day. I do see the reason for concern for the extra hour of darkness being added to the morning, though.
Spring forward early, fall back late
By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
Good news, golfers and after-school soccer players: Congress may give you four extra weeks a year of longer days in which to play.
The prospect of more daylight time was advanced Thursday when lawmakers agreed to add a four-week extension of the practice to an energy bill.
Daylight-saving would start three weeks earlier than usual, the second Sunday of March, and end a week later, the second Sunday of November. "Daylight-saving time is a fantastically effective spending program," says Michael Downing, author of the book Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.
"You give Americans an extra hour of daylight, and they go outdoors," he says. "And when they go outdoors, they spend money."
An extension costs the U.S. government little or nothing, but it creates huge economic ripple effects. In favor are retailers and recreation groups, including the Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association and the National Golf Course Owners Association, which expect a boom in business.
The American Transport Association, which represents the nation's airlines, opposes it. The group says it would cost airlines millions in lost connections and uncompetitive schedules abroad. After it objected, Congress scaled back an initial two-month extension to one month and put off implementation until 2007.
The debate over daylight-saving time is about more than money.
Anne Weselak, president of the National Parent Teacher Association, says an extension means more kids would go to school in the dark. They would have trouble crossing the street, drivers might not see them, and abductions would be easier, she says.
David Prerau, author of Seize the Daylight, says the number of accidents involving kids going to school rose after daylight-saving time was last extended, in 1986. However, he says, that was more than offset by a drop in accidents after school.
Prerau says an extension would save energy, which is why it was added to the energy bill. He worked on a Department of Transportation study in the mid-1970s that estimated that daylight-saving time saves 1% of Americans' energy consumption.
Downing says claims of energy savings are outdated and unproved. He says that when daylight extends into the evening, Americans drive more and use more gas.
For decades, a mere one-hour shift in the nation's daylight has sparked vociferous debate, about winners and losers, costs and benefits.
Hollywood feared people would spend less time inside watching movies. In the 1930s, movie mogul Harold Franklin, then-president of Fox-West Coast, said that daylight-saving time cut theater receipts 10%-30% and warned that it "has unlimited possibilities for evil to us."
Proponents, beginning with Benjamin Franklin, have included department store magnates, 7-Eleven, sporting groups and even candy makers, who once sent pumpkins filled with candy to senators so they would endorse daylight-saving on Halloween.
In 1986, when Congress last extended it, the barbecue industry estimated its sales in grills and charcoal would rise $150 million yearly. Drive-in movie theaters were opposed, arguing that it would cut ticket sales.
For many Americans, though, daylight-saving time is about lifestyle, not economics.
Downing, skeptical of energy savings, says he nevertheless loves his long summer evenings.
"With daylight-saving time, people really do spend less time in their homes," he says.
"Most people adapt fairly quickly" to a one-hour change, says Ann Romaker at the Sleep Disorders Center at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City.
But she says the minority of Americans who are "true morning people" do not — and will miss their sunshine.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who proposed the extension, says daylight-saving time makes most people smile. "We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead," he says.