Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Why do we have daylight saving time?

There is almost one month until daylight saving time starts in 2023, and anyone with the winter doldrums can’t wait.

However, many states, regions and countries are looking into permanently ending the time change. For example, this past October, Mexico voted on a bill to do away with it effective this year.

The Senate in Mexico ratified the bill on Oct. 26 to permanently end daylight saving time across the majority of the country by a 56-29 vote. The bill, backed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, had been approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies beforehand.

Most states across Mexico turned back their clocks an hour for the last time in November and will not turn them forward next month, says Noi Mahoney, a Texas-based journalist who covers cross-border trade, logistics and supply chains for FreightWaves. The elimination can potentially cause problems for cross-border logistics.

It is unclear whether or not the United States will follow suit, although daylight saving time’s original implementation was only meant to last for seven months. It was enacted 81 years ago on Feb. 9 at the suggestion of President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, according to But its roots in the United States can be traced back to World War I.

The real backstory

Despite the common belief that it was introduced for better use of light during farming seasons, its purpose was to conserve fuel and resources. Farmers, in fact, were opposed to the idea since it disrupted their schedules.

The first iteration of daylight saving time came under the Standard Time Act, which started in 1918 and lasted throughout World War I but was discontinued after the war was over. However, many states continued to push clocks ahead by one hour in the spring and turn them back in the fall.

World War II brought about the daylight saving time we know today, but it was repealed on Sept. 30, 1945, and individual states returned to their own standard time. However, 21 years later, Congress passed legislation that brought the time change back again permanently and took precedence over local regulation.

More misbeliefs

In addition to the official reason for the time change, there are numerous other misconceptions. For instance, its correct name is daylight saving time, though most call it daylight savings time.

Many also believe that Benjamin Franklin is the inventor of daylight saving time because he wrote an essay on waking up at dawn. Throughout time, the story of the essay led many to believe that this was the origin story of the time change. But in reality, Franklin’s article was simply about adjusting sleep schedules, not the actual time, says

The inventor of daylight saving time was William Willett, a British man who believed that citizens would enjoy more sunlight in the spring and summer months. He wrote a brochure named “The Waste of Daylight” that introduced the concept of forwarding clocks by 80 minutes from April to October. He died in 1915 before the idea saw reality.

Germany became the first to embrace the practice in April 1916 to conserve electricity. The United Kingdom followed shortly after.

Today, 48 states follow daylight saving time. Hawaii and Arizona are the exceptions. However, many believe that daylight saving time should be permanent all year for mental health purposes, to promote economic activity. It is also believed that the reasoning behind daylight saving time is no longer relevant. Some believe the logistics of the switch could significantly impact freight. In March of last year, The U.S. Senate passed legislation for its permanency, but the House did not follow suit.

FreightWaves Classics articles look at various aspects of the transportation industry’s history. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter!

Have a topic you want me to cover? Email me at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter.