Daylight Saving Time has ended once again, setting off an annual ritual in which Americans (except for those who live in Arizona or Hawaii) and residents of 78 other countries—including Canada (but not Saskatchewan), most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand—turn their clocks back one hour. It’s a controversial practice that became popular in the 1970s with the intent of conserving energy. The fall time-change feels particularly hard because people lose another hour of evening daylight, right around the time the days are growing shorter anyway. It also creates confusion because countries that observe daylight saving change their clocks on different days.
It would seem to be more efficient to do away with the practice altogether. The actual energy savings are minimal, if they exist at all. Frequent and uncoordinated time changes cause confusion, undermining economic efficiency. There’s evidence that regularly changing sleep cycles, associated with daylight saving, lowers productivity and increases heart attacks. Being out of sync with European time changes was at one point projected to cost the airline industry $147 million a year in travel disruptions.
I propose we not only end Daylight Saving, but also take it one step further. This year, Americans on Eastern Standard Time should set their clocks back one hour (like normal), Americans on Central and Rocky Mountain time do nothing, and Americans on Pacific time should set their clocks forward one hour. After that we won’t change our clocks again—no more daylight saving. This will result in just two time zones for the continental United States. The east and west coasts will only be one hour apart. Anyone who lives on one coast and does business with the other can imagine the uncountable benefits of living in a two-time-zone nation (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).