While most of you will go to Daylight Saving Time (DST) this weekend, Hawaii will not. Hawaii has never observed daylight saving time under the Uniform Time Act.
Hawaii opted out of Daylight Saving Time 50+ years ago.
Having said no to DST a half-century ago, Hawaii is still waiting for the rest of the county and the rest of the world to eliminate this practice of changing time. Hawaii once tried DST back in 1933, but only for three weeks. On April 26, 1933, the Territorial Legislature passed a bill that placed Hawaii on DST from the last Sunday of April all the way to September’s last Sunday. On May 21, 1933, three weeks after passing the law, the law was revoked. It was in effect again during World War II, when it was called Hawaiian War Time. Hawaii officially opted out of the Uniform Time Act in 1967.
Until this fall, Hawaii will be 3 hours earlier than the west coast.
And the east coast will be 6 hours later than Hawaii. Mountain states are 4 hours later, and central states are 5 hours.
Question: Why has Hawaii never adopted Daylight Savings Time?
Answer: First and foremost, Hawaii’s sunrise and sunset times do not vary much.
Being much further south than any of the mainland states and at a latitude close to Mexico City, there’s no significant advantage to daylight savings in Hawaii. The concept of daylight savings was, in theory, that it adjusts the time to make use of available natural light. With Hawaii near the equator, sunrise and sunset time don’t vary nearly as much as is the case further to the north. Read on as to whether this theory even holds water.
The other U.S. locations and territories that do not have daylight savings are:
- Arizona (most of the state)
- American Samoa
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Puerto Rico
- United States Virgin Islands
Except for Arizona, the above locations are in a similar situation to Hawaii in terms of latitude. Arizona unsuccessfully tried daylight savings in the 1960s before opting out.
Why daylight savings time?
Daylight savings started in the U.S. more than one hundred years ago, in 1918, during World War I. While the stated reason was to benefit farmers and save fuel, it is now largely believed that it promoted retail shopping in the evenings with more light. It was also considered beneficial to health since, with longer days, people would spend more time with recreation and sports.
After World War I, Daylight Saving Time was only observed in New York City. That is until 1942, when a national DST policy came into effect. In 1966 the Uniform Time Act said that the U.S. would observe six months of standard time and six months of daylight savings each year.
States had to opt in or out, so cities and counties could no longer decide on DST. Arizona opted out. Since then, the U.S. has moved to the more extended observance of DST, which since 2005 has been eight months each year.
Europe has a similar policy and typically changes between “summertime” and standard time close to when the U.S. changes, but not on the same day. That makes it more challenging yet. Europe will go from standard time to summer time in two weeks.
There is much doubt about whether changing to daylight savings is helpful, and switching back and forth may not continue much longer. Europe could lead in that effort; we’ve heard it may end next year. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that daylight savings changes can throw off sleep schedules and more. That may affect our well-being, judgment, and productivity.
Congress seeks to make Daylight Saving Time permanent nationwide.
Legislation in Congress would make Daylight Saving Time permanent, ending the switching back and forth. It passed the Senate unanimously last year but never made it through the House. It is back on again.
“This ritual of changing time twice a year is stupid. Locking the clock has overwhelming bipartisan and popular support. This Congress, I hope that we can finally get this done.” — Senator Marco Rubio.
The U.S. once tried all-year Daylight Saving Time.
In the 1970s, the US tried year-round daily saving time once due to an energy crisis. That lasted ten months, so it was cut short of the two-year plan.
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