This ought to raise a few eyebrows.
Daylight saving time was supposed to save us energy (about 10,000 barrels of oil a day nationwide, if I recall the Department of Transportation study correctly). That was one of the two main arguments used by Gov. Mitch Daniels when he managed to push DST through the General Assembly, the other being that we looked like backaward hicks for not adopting something every other mainland state except Arizona had implemented. But a new study suggests those savings aren't there. For the study, researchers used the 15 Indiana counties that had always observed DST as a control group, comparing them to counties that adopted DST in 2006:
The result of the study showed that electricity use went up in the counties adopting daylight saving time in 2006, costing $8.6 million more in household electricity bills. The conclusion reached by Kotchen and Grant was that while the lighting costs were reduced in the afternoons by daylight saving, the greater heating costs in the mornings, and more use of air-conditioners on hot afternoons more than offset these savings. Kotchen said the results were more “clear and unambiguous” than results in any other paper he had presented.
The authors say studies showing energy savings were conducted in the 1970s, before air conditioning became such a ubiquitous part of our lives.
Daniels got his gubernatorial reputation as a tough and savvy politician in large part because he was able to succeed on DST where so many others had failed over the years. Wonder how this will affect that reputation? One thing he could still say in defense of the change is that at least we're in step with everyone else. There is undoubtedly some savings in the avoidance of missed meetings and confusion because of being different from everyone else, although it isn't quantifiable.
I hate to even bring this up and get everyone exercised all over again, but whether or not we stay on DST affects the time zone debate as well, doesn't it?