July 26, 2005 — -- All this time you may have thought the farmers were responsible for making us adjust our clocks twice a year. But it turns out it's the golfers.
And shopping mall owners everywhere have also had their hand in preserving the institution known as Daylight-Saving Time.
Oh, but that's cynical. People love longer nights, later sunrises, right? Not everyone, it turns out.
Nonetheless, negotiators from the House and Senate have agreed to extend daylight-saving time by four weeks as part of a sweeping energy bill. The provision is designed to save fuel, but one of the bill's sponsors also highlighted another benefit. "The beauty of daylight-saving time is that it just makes everyone feel sunnier," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass.
The provision agreed to by lawmakers would start daylight-saving time three weeks earlier -- on the second Sunday in March -- and end it a week later.
Does it save energy? Does it save money? Oil? Lives? Proponents say of course it does. Opponents say it's just a way for golfers to get extra tee time.
The Air Transport Association of America Inc., which represents major U.S. airlines, argues that it would throw U.S. international schedules further out of sync with Europe. It says a two-month extension, the initial proposal, would cost the U.S. airline industry $147 million and would disrupt overseas travel.
"This is an ultimate disaster for airlines and all of our customers, who will be horribly inconvenienced," says James May, the group's president and chief executive officer.
The National PTA is also opposed, arguing that more kids will have to go to school in the dark.
"One hundred years ago when they first proposed this, they said it was about saving energy," said Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time."
"This has never been realized no matter how many times they say it. Instead it's a tremendous way to get Americans to spend more money."
The United States first implemented daylight-saving time during World War I and then imposed it again during World War II. But for years, the nation lived with a plethora of local daylight-saving times. Finally, Congress tried to create some consistency with the Uniform Time Act of 1966.