Arizona Says No to Daylight-Saving Time

Arizona is one of two states — Hawaii is the other — that do NOT honor daylight-saving time. Why is that? How does it affect Arizonans and their businesses?

Copyright © 2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Americans set their clocks forward last night, except for two states which don't observe Daylight Saving Time. Why one of them, Arizona, doesn't is a mystery to NPR's Ted Robbins, who's based in Tucson.

TED ROBBINS: It's no mystery how Arizona avoided Daylight Saving Time or why. Back in 1966, Congress adopted the Uniform Time Act, which established, well, uniform daylight saving across the country. In April, 1967, Arizona went on Daylight Saving Time with the rest of the Mountain Time zone. David Prerau wrote the book "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time."

Mr. DAVID PRERAU (Author, "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time"): They tried it for a year, and there was so much negative reaction that they've never tried it again.

ROBBINS: The state legislature asked for an exemption and got it. Arizona has been on year-round Mountain Standard Time ever since. But that was 40 years ago. Back then people had more reason to want less sweltering daylight. Far fewer had air-conditioning, far more worked in agriculture, where you were outside all day.

Today, Arizona is the nation's fastest-growing state, and most folks are coming from somewhere else. No one I've talked with likes the fact that friends, relatives, businesses elsewhere change time but we don't. That's the mystery to me. Even Indian, the last hold-out on the mainland, changed in 2006. David Prerau again.

Mr. PRERAU: Businessmen and others from outside the state never knew exactly what time it was in Indiana because the time difference between Indiana and the rest of the country would change over the year.

ROBBINS: Exactly. Yesterday I was two hours behind the East Coast. Today I'm three hours behind. I have to spend the next eight months reminding everyone I talk to outside the state that I am not on Daylight Saving Time. Oh wait, if I'm on the Navajo Nation, a huge reservation in northeast Arizona, I am on Daylight Saving Time. They chose to be in sync with the rest of the country.

As for me, I am now out of sync. For the next eight months, I have an hour less to make a deadline on the East Coast, and I have to get up an hour earlier for an East Coast conference call. David Prerau.

Mr. PRERAU: Well, it might be time for some Arizonans to consider becoming uniform with the rest of the country, but that's up to them.

ROBBINS: Daylight Saving Time is admittedly far, far, far from the most important thing in my life, but this is the time of year I think about it. Of course it's also the time of year when it starts to get hot, and once it gets hot in Arizona, no one thinks much about changing anything. Ted Robbins, NPR News, Tucson.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

A Time-Change Timeline

A sketch of Benjamin Franklin, circa 1783. i i

Benjamin Franklin — shown in a 1783 engraving by Nathaniel Currier — is credited with advancing the concept of daylight-saving time. He wanted to save candles. MPI/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption MPI/Getty Images
A sketch of Benjamin Franklin, circa 1783.

Benjamin Franklin — shown in a 1783 engraving by Nathaniel Currier — is credited with advancing the concept of daylight-saving time. He wanted to save candles.

MPI/Getty Images
FDR signs a declaration of war as members of Congress look on. i i

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a declaration of war in 1941. "War Time," a variation on daylight-saving time, followed. Again the idea was to save fuel. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Hulton Archive/Getty Images
FDR signs a declaration of war as members of Congress look on.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a declaration of war in 1941. "War Time," a variation on daylight-saving time, followed. Again the idea was to save fuel.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A Kuwait Oil Company drilling rig operates on the northern border with Iraq. i i

A Kuwait Oil Company drilling rig on the northern border with Iraq. Daylight-saving time is still about saving energy. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A Kuwait Oil Company drilling rig operates on the northern border with Iraq.

A Kuwait Oil Company drilling rig on the northern border with Iraq. Daylight-saving time is still about saving energy.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

1784: Ben Franklin writes a paper extolling the virtues of extending daylight in order to save candles.

1883: The U.S. and Canada listen to the cries of their railroad executives and adopt Standard Time.

1918: The U.S. establishes a daylight-saving time to run for seven months to conserve electricity during World War I. Once the war was over, the national law is dropped and daylight-saving time became a local option.

1942: During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt orders a year-round daylight-saving time, called "War Time," which runs for three years.

1944: For the next two decades, there is no national law. States and jurisdictions can choose whether to observe daylight-saving time and when to begin and end it.

1966: Congress passes the Uniform Time Act of 1966, establishing a beginning and end date for daylight-saving time, but leaves it up to local jurisdictions to decide whether to use it.

1973: Congress enacts the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act in response to the Arab oil embargo. Daylight-saving time is extended to eight months rather than the normal six. The Department of Transportation says the equivalent of 100,000 barrels of oil each day was saved.

1986: Daylight saving is moved from the last Sunday of April to the first Sunday of April. The end date is left the same.

1987: Chile delays its time change by one day to accommodate a papal visit.

2005: Congress passes the Energy Act of 2005 which starts daylight-saving time one month earlier in the spring and extends it one week later in the fall, beginning in 2007.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.