Posted by: bridget | 13 March 2007

March Madness

The confluence of two not-unrelated events is making March a pretty odd month. First, Congress extended Daylight Savings Time an extra three weeks. People who live in Tijuana and work in San Diego are having problems with the switch, as Mexico is now an hour behind. Also, gas prices have risen significantly, especially in California.

In theory, daylight savings time decreases energy use. The reality is, however, that it increases energy consumption: people drive more when it is light out when they leave work. Daylight Savings Time is, at its core, an attempt by Congress to change the tilt of the earth and get more light during the day. Legislation will never change the amount of daylight that we have.

Edit: Neil pointed out that the change is wrecking havoc with computers and Blackberries around the world.  Microsoft has a patch that will automatically update the computer and change Outlook appointments to reflect the time change.

Gas prices are up to about $3.50/gallon in California; the Sunshine State has overtaken Hawaii as the state with the most expensive gas in the country. Some of this is due to strict requirements in California for a special blend of fuel that results in lower emissions. Then again, with the rest of the country about $0.80 behind us in prices, it could be old-fashioned price gouging.

Oil prices fell to below $58/barrel today. Of course, oil prices have also climbed above $59/barrel today, so whatever oil costs, it’s not between $58 and $59/barrel – that we can at least agree on.



  1. The daylight savings time switch was just plain stupid. Countless hours of productivity were lost. IT departments all over the country had to put in patches and such. Outlook calendars and Blackberries are messed up left and right. And for what?!

  2. Good point. I should have mentioned the computer/Blackberry issue (okay, see the “edit” that’s going to appear in about five seconds), because it just underscores how asinine the entire idea is.

  3. Of course we love government intervention in solving every little problem in our lives (ha!). I’m used to them suffering from the Law of Unintended Consequences. But this time they have no excuse. These problems should have been easy to foresee.

  4. Good point. Should also be easy to forsee that you simply cannot legislate more sunlight. This almost sounds like something out of an Ayn Rand novel: a a government so filled with hubris that it thinks it can change the laws of physics.

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