Daylight Saving Time... When?... How Did it Come About?

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/07/2009 - 12:13pm.

Every spring we move our clocks one hour ahead and "lose" an hour during the night and each fall we move our clocks back one hour and "gain" an extra hour. But Daylight Saving Time (and not Daylight Savings Time with an "s") wasn't just created to confuse our schedules.

On Sunday, March 8, 2009 (the second Sunday in March) at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins in the United States.

A new federal law took effect in March 2007 which extends Daylight Saving Time by four weeks. 

The phrase "Spring forward, fall back" helps people remember how Daylight Saving Time affects their clocks. At 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, we set our clocks forward one hour ahead of standard time ("spring forward"). We "fall back" at 2 a.m. on the first Sunday in November by setting our clock back one hour and thus returning to standard time.

The change to Daylight Saving Time allows us to use less energy in lighting our homes by taking advantage of the longer and later daylight hours. During the six-and-a-half-month period of Daylight Saving Time, the names of time in each of the time zones in the U.S. change as well. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time, Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), Mountain Standard Time (MST) becomes Mountain Daylight Tome (MDT), Pacific Standard Time becomes Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), and so forth.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time is four weeks longer since 2007 due to the passage of the Energy Policy Act in 2005. The Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. Unfortunately, it is exceedingly difficult to determine energy savings from Daylight Saving Time and based on a variety of factors, it is possible that little or no energy is saved by Daylight Saving Time.

Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time. This choice does make sense for the areas closer to the equator because the days are more consistent in length throughout the year.

A Time-Change Timeline

1784: Ben Franklin writes a paper extolling the virtues of extending daylight in order to save candles.

1883: The U.S. and Canada listen to the cries of their railroad executives and adopt Standard Time.

1918: The U.S. establishes a daylight-saving time to run for seven months to conserve electricity during World War I. Once the war was over, the national law is dropped and daylight-saving time became a local option.

1942: During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt orders a year-round daylight-saving time, called "War Time," which runs for three years.

1944: For the next two decades, there is no national law. States and jurisdictions can choose whether to observe daylight-saving time and when to begin and end it.

1966: Congress passes the Uniform Time Act of 1966, establishing a beginning and end date for daylight-saving time, but leaves it up to local jurisdictions to decide whether to use it.

1973: Congress enacts the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act in response to the Arab oil embargo. Daylight-saving time is extended to eight months rather than the normal six. The Department of Transportation says the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil each day was saved.

1986: Daylight saving is moved from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of April. The end date is left the same.

1987: Chile delays its time change by one day to accommodate a papal visit.

2005: Congress passes the Energy Act of 2005 which starts daylight-saving time one month earlier in the spring and extends it one week later in the fall, beginning in 2007.

Coordinated Universal Time UTC - Greenwich Mean Time GMT Offset

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is used as the official world reference for time. Coordinated Universal Time replaced the use of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in 1972. You will often see time zones represented similar to UTC - 5h or GMT - 5h. In this example the (-5h) refers to that time zone being five hours behind UTC or GMT and so forth for the other time zones. UTC+5h or GMT +5h would refer to that time zone being five hours ahead of UTC of GMT and so forth for the other time zones.

The usage of UTC and GMT is based upon a twenty four hour clock, similar to military time, and is based upon the 0° longitude meridian, referred to as the Greenwich meridian in Greenwich, England.

Coordinated Universal Time is based on cesium-beam atomic clocks, with leap seconds added to match earth-motion time, where as Greenwich Mean Time is based upon the Earth's rotation and celestial measurements. Coordinated Universal Time is also known Zulu Time or Z time.

In areas of the United States that observe Daylight Saving Time local residents will move their clocks ahead one hour when Daylight Saving Time begins. As a result, their UTC or GMT offset would change from UTC -5h or GMT - 5h to UTC -4h or GMT - 4h. In places not observing Daylight Saving Time the local UTC or GMT offset will remain the same year round. Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa do not observe Daylight Saving Time.

In the United States Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March. On the first Sunday in November areas on Daylight Saving Time return to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and so forth.

The United States uses nine standard time zones. From east to west they are Atlantic Standard Time (AST), Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST), Pacific Standard Time (PST), Alaskan Standard Time (AKST), Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HST), Samoa standard time (UTC-11) and Chamorro Standard Time (UTC+10). View the standard time zone boundaries.


Time Zone in United States

Examples of places in United States  using these Time Zones

UTC Offset
Standard Time

UTC offset
Daylight Saving Time


Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands

UTC - 4h



Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, part of Indiana, part of Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, part of Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia

UTC - 5h

UTC - 4h


Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, part of Indiana, Iowa, part of Kansas, part of Kentucky, Louisiana, part of Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota,  Oklahoma, part of South Dakota, part of Tennessee, most of Texas, and Wisconsin

UTC - 6h

UTC - 5h


Arizona*, Colorado, part of Idaho, part of Kansas, Montana, part of Nebraska, New Mexico, part of North Dakota, part of Oregon, part of South Dakota, part of Texas, Utah, and Wyoming

UTC - 7h

UTC - 6h
* n/a for Arizona


California, part of Idaho, Nevada, most of Oregon, Washington

UTC - 8h

UTC - 7h



UTC - 9

UTC - 8



UTC - 10



Daylight Saving Time Around the World

Other parts of the world observe Daylight Saving Time as well. While European nations have been taking advantage of the time change for decades, in 1996 the European Union (EU) standardized a EU-wide European Summer Time. This EU version of Daylight Saving Time runs from the last Sunday in March through the last Sunday in October.

In the southern hemisphere where summer comes in December, Daylight Saving Time is observed from October to March. Equatorial and tropical countries (lower latitudes) don't observe Daylight Saving Time since the daylight hours are similar during every season, so there's no advantage to moving clocks forward during the summer.

Kyrgyzstan is the only country that observes year-round Daylight Saving Time. The country has been doing so since 2005.



U.S. Daylight Saving Time

Year Spring Forward Fall Back
2004 2 a.m. April 4 2 a.m. Oct. 31
2005 2 a.m. April 3 2 a.m. Oct. 30
2006 2 a.m. April 2 2 a.m. Oct. 29
2007 2.a.m. March 11 2 a.m. Nov. 4
2008 2 a.m. March 9 2 a.m. Nov. 2
2009 2 a.m. March 8 2 a.m. Nov. 1
2010 2 a.m. March 14 2 a.m. Nov 7
2011 2 a.m. March 13 2 a.m. Nov. 6



US Times

Canada Times

Mexico Times

World Times


SadInAmerica - March 7, 2009 - source KnowTheLies


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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 03/07/2009 - 12:13pm.