Q&A on the News

Q: Since we’ve had the change of time, are there states that do not change time? Why does the United States use daylight saving time? Is it saving energy?

—Doris Waddle, Fayetteville

A: While some territories do not observe daylight saving time, only two U.S. states currently keep their clocks on standard time year-round: Arizona and Hawaii.

The notion of moving clocks forward sprang from Englishman William Willett, who had the idea in 1905, arguing that Britons could enjoy more sunlight if the United Kingdom would move its clocks up 80 minutes from April to October, according to history.com.

However, it wasn’t until 1916 — after Willett’s death — that his idea began to see light. In the midst of the First World War, Germany moved its clocks forward to conserve electricity, and Britain quickly established its own “Summer Time” a few weeks later.

The United States introduced daylight saving time as a wartime measure in March 1918 and then again during World War II, but repealed it after the wars ended. Some states and cities liked the extra hour of sunlight’s effect on businesses and continued the practice. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act established a U.S. daylight saving time calendar, allowing states to opt out, and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 then extended DST by several weeks.

While energy conservation is touted as a reason for DST, research doesn’t appear to support it. In 2010, Yale University’s Matthew Kotchen and University of California-Santa Barbara’s Laura Grant concluded that increased heating and cooling costs associated with the time change more than offset electricity savings on lighting.

Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).