History of Daylight Saving Time: Why do we Spring forward?


It seems like only yesterday that we discussed the ending of Daylight Saving Time, or DST, a brilliant campaign to convince people that we’re getting more daylight each day when, in reality, they’ve simply changed their clocks and then forgotten about it within two weeks. It was only back in November, four months ago.


Changes in Daylight Saving Time

Indeed, the rules for DST that began in 2007 meant an extra four or five weeks of DST each year. There are now 238 days of DST, compared to a total of 210 days of DST back in 2006 under the previous rules. This means the U. S. remains on DST for about 65% of the year. So, if you think about it, DST will be in effect for most of the year; Standard time is no longer the standard. It might be more significant to recognize Daylight Losing Time.


Starting Daylight Saving Time

DST begins each year at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March in most of the United States and its territories. However, some places have not bought into this campaign. It is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, or Arizona, except for the Navajo Indian Reservation, which does observe DST.

Now, an answer to the age-old question

“Does DST actually save energy?”


Daylight Saving Time Energy Savings?

A Department of Energy study was released in early November 2008, showing that Daylight Saving Time does, in fact, save energy.


  • Daylight Saving Time EnergyThe total electricity savings of Extended Daylight Saving Time were about 1.3 Tera Watt-hour (TWh). This corresponds to 0.5 percent per day of Extended Daylight Saving Time, or 0.03 percent of electricity consumption over the year. In comparison, the total 2007 electricity consumption in the United States was 3,900 TWh.
  • Regarding national primary energy consumption, the electricity savings translate to a 17 Trillion Btu (TBtu) reduction over the spring and fall Extended Daylight Saving Time periods or roughly 0.02 percent of total U.S. energy consumption during 2007 of 101,000 TBtu.


How much again? We’re talking two one-hundredths of a percent annual energy consumption reduced!

How will you spend these energy savings?


Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian


Subscribe to have future articles delivered to your email. If you enjoyed this article, please consider leaving a comment.

About billpetro

Bill Petro writes articles on history, technology, pop culture, and travel. He has been a technology sales enablement executive with extensive experience in Cloud Computing, Automation, Data Center, Information Storage, Big Data/Analytics, Mobile, and Social technologies.


  1. Wes Sawyer on March 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm


    I’ve enjoyed your succinct explanations for years.

    P.S. Please don’t think badly of me for continuing to use AOL. If you must banish me from your cyber sphere, I’ll understand.

  2. Tom Griffin on March 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    SO…. I went out and found a Forbes article listing the average price of energy and they quoting reliable sources estimated $23.31 per Million BTUs as the cost of Electricity. If I plug in your numbers of 17 Trillion BTU saved (17,000 million – check my math please) I get $447.2k in savings….I think the disruption alone in computer programming, reminders announcements everywhere, etc. easily eats that up… I think I will vote to pick one time and stick with it… OR if “they” would like to give me the “savings,” I would consider maintaining the insanity.

    • billpetro on March 10, 2017 at 2:18 pm


      I think you’re on to something there 🙂


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.