Q: What was the reason and what year did we start changing the time each spring and fall?
— Ruby Cook, Cumming
A: Benjamin Franklin purposed the idea in 1784 to save on candle usage by rising earlier to make better use of sunlight, but the policy for springing forward one hour and later falling back wasn’t adopted by the U.S. until 1918, two years after several European countries began to use it to save fuel during World War I. It was unpopular and was repealed in 1919. Daylight Saving Time (DST) became a local option, leading a few states and even cities, to keep it between the wars. President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST, called “War Time,” from 1942-45. But after World War II, there was no uniform law, causing confusion with plane, bus and train schedules and radio and TV broadcasts. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 stated that DST would start on the last Sunday of April and end on the last Sunday of October, but states could opt out by passing their own local laws. President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Clocks were set one hour ahead on Jan. 6, 1974. Standard Time returned on Oct. 27, 1974, and DST started again on Feb. 23, 1975. The current U.S. schedule follows the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period by about one month, starting in 2007. DST starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe DST. A 2008 study by the Department of Energy found that energy usage in the U.S. decreases about 0.5 percent a day during DST.
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