Monday, March 12, 2007

24 Hours a Day

An energy analyst recently said that demand for gasoline will rise because of daylight savings time (DST). She believes people are happy to have an extra hour to drive.

Of course, they don't have an extra hour to drive or do anything else for that matter. Despite DST, there are still only 24 hours in a day. What she apparently means is that the additional hour of daylight in the evening (at the cost of an hour of daylight in the morning) will somehow convince people to drive their cars more.

I don't buy this argument. Neither do I buy the argument that DST saves energy. Even if it did, how much energy could it possibly save? People will run their refrigerators and computers just as much as they did before. They will still heat or cool their homes, vacuum their houses, and blow-dry their hair. Perhaps they might use a little less lighting in the evening, but compared to everything else, light bulbs don't use that much energy.

It was dark this morning when my alarm went off. As a result, I had to turn on the lights. I didn't have to do that last week. I might have my lights on for an hour less in the evenings, but I'm making up for it in the mornings. I don't believe DST makes a meaningful dent in energy consumption; and I certainly don't believe it has any impact on gasoline demand.