Time, time

Michael Raffety


Time, time is on our side, as the Rolling Stones sang. Not the way our government runs it. Whether it is fall-back or spring forward, changing one’s sleep rhythm is just plain unhealthy. And none of these time changes saves a lick of money.

When Daylight Saving Time is forced upon us it runs up our air-conditioning bill by forcing all those daylight hours upon us in the evening after work. Switching back to regular time in the fall forces us to spend more on heating the house.

Neither of these two time shifts save anything on lighting the house. At our house we have steadily reduced our electric bill by switching to compact fluorescent bulbs and now to LED lights. Just in our kitchen nook alone we cut down the wattage from four 60-watt incandescent bulbs in can lights totaling 240 watts to 56 watts of CFL bulbs and now to 36 watts of LED bulbs. The LED bulbs are by far the brightest.

Due to the high cost of LED bulbs I made the switch in stages, including locations where we had indoor floodlights. I only have one 75-watt incandescent floodlight to replace when my daughter returns my Little Giant ladder.

Our dining room chandelier went from 340 watts total to 45 watts total when I switched from incandescents to LEDs, ditto for the stairway chandelier. My porch lamps are dialed down from 400 wats to 32 watts.

Jo Craven McGinty does a column in the Wall Street Journal called Numbers. The latest column was about how many rats there are in New York City. No, there is not one rat for every one of the 8 million residents of NYC. That was some misapplied statistics from an English countryside study. The latest bio-statistical estimate is 2 million-3 million rats.

But her column I saved was the Nov. 1 column about Daylight Saving Time. The Energy Department  in 2007 studied electricity consumption from 67 utilities representing two-thirds of the electrical consumption. The Energy Department claimed extending Daylight Saving Time four weeks led to a 0.5 percent drop in electricity in the spring and  0.38 in the fall. Because of changes in energy efficiency legislation, those figures cannot be relied upon, said Hendrik Wolf, an economics professor at the University of Washington.

Instead  Wolf studied Australia, where Daylight Saving Time was implemented two months earlier in two states for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Other states did not switch to Daylight Saving time. He used half-hourly electrical use and measured the differences over time.

What Wolf found was that electrical consumption rose in the morning and decreased in the evening, basically canceling each other out.

“”We reject the hypothesis that there are electricity savings,” Wolf said. McGinty wrote, “the report said findings could carry over to the U.S., particularly in California, whose climate resembles Victoria’s. (Australia)”

Daylight Saving Time dates back to World War I, just like the telephone excise tax. Once you get stuck with something like that you never get rid of it. Indiana used to have regular time and DST in different counties. A Yale economics professor studied Indiana and found that Daylight Saving Time actually increased electrical consumption.

A New Zealand bug collector came up with the idea of DST in 1895, so he could have more daylight hours after work to hunt insects. So the rest of us are just bugged by it all. Germany used it to save coal during the war. The United States implemented it in 1918, pretty much at the end of the war. Congress released it in 1919 and President Woodrow Wilson vetoed it. Congress overroad his veto. Where are those gutsy members of Congress today? Then it pretty much took over forever after the energy crises of 1973 and 1979. Arizona doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time, meaning you don’t have to change your watch when flying from California to Arizona in the summer.

Argentina, Iceland, Uzbekistan and Belarus are permanently on Daylight Saving Time.

The awful time shift can be blamed on Presidents Wilson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. There was DST during WW II, but it wasn’t standardized until 1966 — President Lyndon Johnson. Probably another Great Society scheme.

The worst idiocy was Richard Nixon’s national speed limit of 55 mph, thinking that was going to save gas. It saved all of .2 to 1 percent. In 1987 it was raised to 65 and in 1995 the national speed limit was abolished. The speed limit on Interstate 10 in Arizona is 75 mph. Arizona isn’t the only state with 75 mph freeways, but Texas has a segment with an 85 mph speed limit. Now all they need to do is outlaw Volkswagen vans on their 85 mph highway.


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