Why Arizona doesn't observe daylight saving time

Start now to adjust for Spring forward

On Sunday, America moves its clocks forward in an effort to save daylight.

But not in Arizona. Clocks will remain untouched as daylight saving time officially starts.

The Grand Canyon State is just fine where it is as the nation springs ahead.

That's because Arizona already has plenty of daylight. And when temperatures climb above 100, the state will wish it had daylight-spending time, urging the world to spin faster and return to the more comfortable dark side of Earth.

For a half century, Arizona — but not including the Navajo reservation — has refused to perform the standard to-daylight-saving-and-back-again dance. In 1968, the state legislature decided it was best for Arizona to opt out of the Uniform Time Act of 1966, which mandated the saving of daylight.

The move meant that on 115-degree days in July, the sun would set at 7:40 p.m. MST rather than 8:40 p.m. MDT, avoiding nightly pleas from kids to stay up later because it's too bright (and hot) to go to bed.

Most of Arizona has remained a loyal Mountain Standard Time state ever since. As a result, it's singled out on the time-setting sub-menus for phones and other smart devices. While other states are lumped into time zones, the Grand Canyon State stands alone. #locktheclock

Daylight-saving facts

• Origins. Daylight saving was started to save energy, but people enjoyed having an extra hour of daylight after work. Yet in Arizona sunlight only extends the heat-related misery.

• Reservations. The Navajo Reservation observes daylight saving time; the Hopi Reservation does not. The Navajo Reservation surrounds the Hopi Reservation, so if on Monday you drive from Flagstaff to Gallup through Tuba City and Ganado, you'll change time on four occasions.

• Indiana no more. Western Indiana used to be even more confusing as some counties and cities observed daylight saving while others did not. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 put an end to that foolishness. Now only Arizona and Hawaii stay on the same time all year.

• 20-minute increments? Be happy that in 1905, the British roundly ignored builder William Willett's proposal to push the clock ahead 20 minutes each Sunday in April and roll them back in similar increments in September.

• Before World War I. The first use of daylight saving time dates to July 1908 in Port Arthur, called now Thunder Bay, Ontario. Despite the commercial possibilities, the city holds no daylight-saving parades and sells no "Birthplace of DST" shot glasses.

• During WWI. The U.S. first adopted daylight saving time, called "Fast Time," in 1918 in support of the war effort. It was repealed seven months later.

• War Time. On Feb. 9, 1942, Americans set their clocks an hour ahead and kept them there until Sept. 30, 1945. The time zones were called War Time. Arizona, which couldn't opt out, was on Mountain War Time.

• Beijing time. China may or may not manipulate its currency, but it does mess with the clock. Though spread over five time zones, the country recognizes only one, Beijing time. It is supposed to promote unity, but tell that to those who live in the far west when the summer sun sets as late as midnight.

• One nation, one time zone? If the U.S. observed the one-time-zone policy — the Eastern time of the nation's capital, of course, — the summer sun would set as late as 10:42 p.m. in Arizona and weather-related crankiness would hit an all-time high.

• Rare bipartisanship. In 1991 and again in 2014, a few lawmakers floated the idea of having Arizona join the daylight-saving parade. Republicans and Democrats were united in their rejection of such a proposal.

• Further behind. In 2016, California legislators were nearly unanimous against a measure stopping the move to daylight-saving time. One reason cited: Those in the financial industry didn't want to be four hours behind New York. But don't most New Yorkers think everybody else is at least four hours behind?

• More than a fad. More than 70 countries observe daylight saving time. No one is sure just how much daylight is saved, globally, each year, though physics suggests none.

• A word on the words. The phrase is daylight saving time, not daylight savings time. That's the decree from those who spend inordinate amounts of time policing words.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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