Daylight Saving Time

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What’s your opinion of Daylight Saving Time (DST), which ended November 1? Do you think changing the clock keeps you safer and healthier, decreases greenhouse emissions and helps the economy? Or are you less convinced of the benefits?

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide.

The Health and Safety Spin

Pro: Extending DST to make better use of daylight hours by “springing forward” translates into less crime and traffic accidents, as well as additional daylight for outdoor activities.

Con: With extended DST lasting until late fall, early morning joggers and children standing at school bus stops before daybreak are at risk of being hit by cars. In addition, time changes in both directions increase automobile accidents. Why? Because until everyone adjusts, body clocks are out of sync and drivers are addled.

The Greenhouse Buzz

Pro: A thirty-year-old study claims that observing DST in March and April saved the energy equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil each day. In 2009’s world of higher oil prices, combining that level of energy conservation with extended DST saves a lot of money and greenhouse gases.

Con: Critics cite new data from a 2006 study of energy usage that shows an estimated increase of one to four percentage points during DST. Factor in more cars on the road today, and the increase in costs—as well as the carbon effect—is even higher.

Economic Yeas and Nays

Pro: According to supporters, DST causes nationwide electricity usage to drop by approximately one percent a day. A second plus is economic: shopping increases due to lengthier evening hours.

Con: DST may not be an energy saver, but rather an energy consumer due to an upswing in air conditioning use during extended summer evening daylight hours.

Whatever your opinion of DST, the arguments for and against it shed light on one certainty: experts are as divided over the benefits as everyone else.

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