Californians now have a chance to make their opinion known. Do we want to keep daylight saving time year-round?
Assemblyman Kansen Chu, D-San Jose, who has been working on this issue since 2016, has succeeded in putting the idea on the November 2018 ballot. He argues the practice of moving clocks forward and backward each year negatively impacts children and the elderly and no longer saves energy.
Here are 10 fun facts you might want to know before you vote:
- The correct phrase is “daylight saving time,” not “daylight savings time.” The all-lowercase phrase is often misspelled in English-speaking countries.
- Keeping daylight saving time probably won't lower your electricity bill. People turn their lights on later, but they also use their air conditioning longer, Chu says.
Arizona and Hawaii don’t observe daylight saving time. Neither do the United States’ five populated territories, which are American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.
Even if Californians vote to end it, we'd have to secure federal approval before lawmakers could officially end the practice.
Jumping out of sync with other states could be costly — in 2005, when Congress extended daylight saving time by a month, the Air Transport Association estimated that keeping U.S. flights on schedule with the rest of the world could cost $147 million.
The United States is one of about 70 countries that employ a time change. Most countries in North America and Europe observe daylight saving time, while most countries in Africa and Asia, such as Japan, India, China, Chile and Saudi Arabia, do not.
In 1784, Benjamin Franklin, who was then living in Paris, published a satirical essay in which he estimated that the city could save 64 million pounds of wax and tallow each year if citizens used “sunshine instead of candles.” Though he is often cited as the first person to propose daylight saving time, Franklin only suggested adapting to daylight hours, not turning back the hands of clocks.
Englishman William Willett is the real inventor of daylight saving time. In 1907, Willett published a pamphlet titled “The Waste of Daylight.” In it, he advocated that clocks should be advanced by four 20-minute increments in April, and reversed the same way in September. Using his own money, he tirelessly promoted British Summer Time. He was alive to see his proposal rejected in parliament multiple times, but he died at the age of 58 in early 1915, just one year before the Summer Time Act of 1916 was implemented in May, which advanced clocks one hour forward.
Daylight saving time was implemented around the world as a wartime money-saving measure. In an effort to save fuel, multiple countries adopted the practice during World War I. Germany was the first to implement clock changes in April 1916, moving its clocks one hour ahead.
The U.S. adopted the practice of daylight saving time in 1966 with the passage of the Uniform Time Act. Prior to the act, multiple states had their own patterns and dates of moving the clock.