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Daylight Saving Time: when is the next change?

Americans will have plenty of time for their body clocks to adjust until the next time they have to switch their clocks, some want to end the practice.

Daylight Saving Time is over, and the US has returned to Standard Time. Much to the displeasure of many, clocks will be turned forward again in March.

Depending where you live in the world you may have to change your clocks twice a year. The practice dates back to the First World War as a way of conserving energy taking advantage of longer summer days but has been dropped and reimplemented over the years.

In the US the system for when to make the switch clock backwards or forwards an hour was made uniform in 1966. The same has been true for the European Union since 1980. Both have updated when to make the change in the last two decades.

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When is the next Daylight Saving Time change?

48 of the 50 states spread across six time zones have performed the twice-a-year ritual on the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in November since 2007. Only the residents of Hawaii and most of Arizona don’t have to bother with remembering to adjust their various clocks and time pieces. The next change, when clocks will go forward again, will be 13 March 2022 in the US.

The European Union changed when it makes the shift in 2000. Residents of the 27-member block of nations change their clocks on the last Sunday in March and October each year, at least for now. In 2018 the European Union approved keeping perpetual Daylight Saving Time which was supposed to be implemented October 2021.

However, the covid-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the works delaying the proposal. It still needs to be approved by the governments in each of the 27 nations which have been far busier dealing with the crisis created by the virus. Europeans will change their clocks again 27 March 2022.

Why do we have Daylight Saving Time?

The first person credited with suggesting the idea of changing our clocks to take advantage of the longer summer days was Benjamin Franklin back in 1784 while he was living in Paris. But the man credited with getting the ball rolling was a British builder named William Willett who suggested the idea to Parliament as a way for the nation as a whole to make better use of daylight.

However, Germany was the first to implement the practice of seasonal time changes, desperate to save energy during the First World War. The policy quickly caught on with most European nations, the US and the United Kingdom along with its allies adopting the Daylight Saving Time by 1918. However, many nations ditched the system in the years after the war only to adopt it again when there was a need to conserve energy.

Does Daylight Saving Time really conserve energy?

Daylight Saving Time is credited with reducing crime, people are doing activities in the daylight so there are less opportunities for criminals, as well as saving lives and preventing traffic accidents. However, the primary reason for the twice-yearly shift comes from the energy savings it is purported to have. According to the US Department of Transportation study in 1975, the US experienced nearly a one percent daily savings on energy use during the yearly Daylight Savings Time period.

However, those findings have been contradicted by more recent analysis performed in 2006 when Indiana implemented Daylight Saving Time statewide, previously it had been in effect in just a few counties. Researchers found that residential energy consumption actually increased by around one percent. They ventured that although less lighting is needed, the longer summer evenings caused a spike in AC usage in households throughout the state.

Can states opt out of Daylight Savings Time?

The US first dabbled with changing the clocks twice a year in 1918 following the lead of the Europeans. However, in 1919 when the war was over Congress repealed the law establishing Daylight Savings Time. But some states liked the system and kept it. This caused problems though with train traffic resulting in collisions. So in 1966 the authority to determine how Americans set their clocks was given to the Department of Transportation under the Uniform Time Act.

For some the twice annual time change is a bother, which has led to calls to end the practice of the twice annual change. 19 states have legislation or a resolution to do away with the twice-yearly switch, and stick with Daylight Savings Time year round. However, the ultimate authority to do so has been under the Department of Transportation and those states would need Congressional approval. However, if a state wants to opt out of Daylight Savings Time and keep Standard Time all year, they could do so without having to get permission.