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Daylight Savings 2011: When It Ends And Why We Use it

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 10/17/11 07:07 PM ET Updated: 12/17/11 05:12 AM ET

No, it's not your imagination. You really have waited longer to get that extra hour of sleep this year.

In fact, Daylight Saving Time (DST) comes to an end on the morning of Sunday, November 6, when you move the clocks back one hour. Or, you forget to move the clocks back one hour and find yourself at work an hour early before the office lights are even turned on.

The extended DST began back in 2007, after the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 came into effect and the clocks were set back one hour on the first Sunday of November instead of the last Sunday of October, reports International Business Times. They also changed the start of DST to the second Sunday of March from the first Sunday of April.

There's been a number of conflicting reports about how much energy is saved from Daylight Saving Time. Back in the 1970's, studies showed we saved 1% of energy nationally, which was a big motivation for adopting DST. On the one hand, states like California argue the energy savings are negligible. But another report published in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded 4 weeks extra of daylight savings time could conserve 1.3 trillion watt-hours per day, enough to power 100,000 homes for a year, reports Scientific American.

Though Benjamin Franklin first came up with the idea in 1784, TimeandDate.com explains, DST wasn't used until World War I to conserve energy. The U.S. observed year-round DST during World War II and implemented it during the energy crisis in the 1970's, notes the Scientific American.

Not everyone across the U.S. observes Daylight Saving Time, including Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.

A post by Chris Kline on ABC15.com discusses why most of Arizona doesn't observe the time change: "According to an Arizona Republic editorial from 1969, the reason was the state's extreme heat. If Arizona were to observe Daylight Saving Time, the sun would stay out until 9 p.m. in the summer (instead of 8 p.m., like it does currently)."

NOTE: The technical term for the occasion is daylight saving time, not daylight savings time.

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