Today in History – January 6, 1974 – The days get longer

6 January 1974 – “In response to the 1973 oil crisis, daylight saving time commenced nearly four months early in the United States.

Daylight Savings Time was enacted on March 19, 1918 “to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States”. It both established standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. After the war ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson’s veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.” (1)

“Richard Nixon infamously mandated year-round daylight saving in 1974 and 1975. This decision did not soften the blow of the OPEC oil embargo, but it did put school children on pitch-black streets every morning until the plan was scaled back. A Department of Transportation study concluded that Nixon’s experiment yielded no definitive fuel saving. It optimistically speculated, however, that daylight saving might one day help us conserve as many as 100,000 barrels of oil a day. Based on that projection and the hope of reducing street crime, in 1986 and again this year Congress extended daylight saving by a month. But there has been no corresponding reduction in oil consumption or crime.” (2)

Source: (1)   (2)

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