Daylight saving time begins this weekend, but what if it became permanent?
U.S. senators have proposed a bill that would set our clocks forward this weekend and stay in daylight saving time permanently, which means no more changing of the clocks at all.
The practice, which gives an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day, was originally instituted in the U.S. in 1918 as a wartime measure to help conserve energy.
The actual savings have long been a topic of debate, and for parts of the country where the summer reaches brutally hot temperatures, the time shift isn’t always welcome.
If the bill passes, what could a permanent daylight saving time look like?
The lower 48 in the United States is currently divided into 4 time zones.
To show the effects of daylight saving time, let’s take a western point that is still in the Central time zone – Williston, North Dakota. For an eastern point, Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Here is what the winter solstice would look like with the current system of changing clocks on Dec 21, 2021 when the winter solstice has the shortest daylight of the year.
This year Williston would have a sunrise at 8:42 a.m. and a sunset at 5:03 p.m. Green Bay on the eastern point of the time zone would have the sunrise at 7:25 a.m. and set at 4:15 p.m.
The proposed congressional bill of permanent daylight saving time would essentially eliminate the “fall back” every November when clocks are set back an hour.
Without that November time change, the sunrise in Williston would happen at 9:42 a.m., and at 8:25 a.m. in Green Bay.
Those sunrises would be quite late on the western portions of the time zone, but would see a trade-off for later sunsets.
It’s worth noting that the summer solstice, or the longest day of the year, would be unaffected because it is already in the middle of daylight saving time. The further away you go from the equator the bigger the swing in daylight between summer and winter.
Opponents to the bill argue that it would be tough on children heading to school. Meanwhile advocates for the bill claim the move will result in less car crashes and lower energy usage.