WASHINGTON — Daylight saving time is coming to an end on the first Sunday of November, but could this be the last time?
Clocks will "fall back" one hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 6, granting most people an extra hour of sleep. With the change comes earlier sunrises and nightfall well before 7 p.m. It won't be until March when we fiddle with our clocks to "spring ahead" once again.
One federal bill, already fully approved by the U.S. Senate, could change things before the clocks switch again in 2023. The Sunshine Protection Act, introduced by Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, is proposing permanent daylight saving time for all states.
The bill hasn't seen progress since March as it currently awaits a review by the House of Representatives, and if passed, a signature from President Biden.
Why was daylight saving time created?
The practice has been implemented in some form since World War I when Germany originally introduced it to conserve power and energy by extending daylight hours.
The Standard Time Act in 1918 was the first introduction of daylight saving time to American clocks. The temporary measure, which once held the nickname 'war time,' lasted from spring to fall and was intended to cut energy costs during World War I. The act is also responsible for the five time zones still in place today.
The Department of Transportation was created and given regulatory power over time zones and daylight saving time in 1966. In order to correct confusing and alternating time zones, the Uniform Time Act of 1966 sought a nationwide standard for daylight saving time -- from the last Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.
Few changes have happened since then. Most recently, daylight saving time was extended by a few weeks in 2005 when former President George Bush changed the law. It is now observed from the second Sunday in March until the first Sunday in November.
Despite the national observance, Arizona and Hawaii don't observe daylight saving time. Under federal law, states are allowed to opt out of daylight saving time and remain on standard time, but are not allowed to remain on daylight time.
The U.S. has previously implemented daylight savings time year-round twice, once in World War II for fuel conservation and once in 1974 as "trial run" during an energy crisis.
While there is some belief that daylight saving time reduces electricity consumption, traffic and crime, two studies, one performed in 1975 and one in 2005, when DST was extended, revealed that much of the changes in energy consumption, traffic and crime were "statistically insignificant." The 2005 study found that each day of extended daylight saving time lowered total national electricity consumption by 0.5%.
Where does the Sunshine Protection Act stand?
Despite the over 50 years of observance, several states there have been pushes by over 29 states to change the practice.
With the Sunshine Protection Act awaiting review from the House, there's a possibility that daylight saving time could be the new standard time nationwide. If it becomes law, clocks will spring forward in March and would not change come Nov. 5, 2023.
Congress is the only one that can change the observance period for daylight saving time. Since 2015, at least 45 states proposed bills to change their observance of DST, according to the Congressional Research Service.