Two U.S. Time Zones is a Dumb Idea


Two time zones in America? (From CNN)

In CNN’s online publication this evening, the publication is calling two time zones a good idea.  Based on Allison Schrager’s concept of merging the four continental time zones into two with Eastern cities adopting the time in the current Central Time Zone and Pacific Time advancing their clocks to that of Mountain Time zone.  According to CNN, Schrager opines that “Everyone in the Southwest did everything at the same time as New Yorkers, they just called it a different time.”  CNN also thinks that “would give east coast states brighter mornings and west coast states sunnier evenings.”

Let’s see what that means for the Eastern Time Zone.  Here’s a sunrise and sunset table for New York, New York from the U.S. Naval Observatory.  The times have been reduced 1 hour as if the clocks were set back one hour to match the time of the Central Time Zone with no Daylight Saving Time.

Date          Sunrise          Sunset

Jan 01      6:20 a.m.     3:39 p.m.
Feb 01      6:05 a.m.     4:14 p.m.
Mar 01      5:29 a.m.     4:47 p.m.
Apr 01      4:39 a.m.     5:21 p.m.
May 01     3:54 a.m.      5:52 p.m.
Jun 01      3:27 a.m.      6:21 p.m.
Jul 01       3:28 a.m.       6:31 p.m.
Aug 01     3:53 a.m.      6:11 p.m.
Sep 01      4:23 a.m.      5:28 p.m.
Oct 01      4:52 a.m.       4:37 p.m.
Nov 01     5:26 a.m.       3:52 p.m.
Dec 01      6:01 a.m.       3:29 p.m.

Sunnier mornings?  Sure when the sun rises before 4 a.m. during May, June and July.  Under this clock setting, the earliest sunrise is 3:24 a.m.  YES, 3:24 a.m. for sunrise in New York City!

During the colder months, the sun sets before 4 p.m. with the earliest sunset at 3:28 p.m.  Sunset before 3:30 p.m.!

CNN further states that Daylight Saving Time could be eliminated.  “Eliminating the practice would prevent the jarring feeling we all get in the fall when the clocks reset and it suddenly gets dark at 4:30 p.m.”  Well by changing the clock in NY to match Central Time the sun would set at 3:30 p.m.  Which is a greater shock?  Or having a 6:30 p.m. sunset time in June?  Working folk who put in 8 hours and have a small commute would have little sunlight during the warmer evenings.  Oh sure, they could get up at 3:30 a.m. to enjoy their daylight before work.

Check your location.  Here’s the link to the U.S. Naval Observatory sunrise/sunset calculator.  In form A, select your state; enter your city; and click the compute table button.  If you are currently in the Eastern Time Zone, subtract an hour from the table.  If you live in the Pacific Time Zone, add an hour.  Mountain and Central Time Zones are not affected.

You decide whether this is a good idea.

I live in the Central Time Zone so this doesn’t affect me.  Actually, though, there’s enough sunshine in May, June and July to advance the clock yet another hour to push the morning sunshine into the evening.  That idea is based on what the sun is doing, not somebody who perceives that everybody runs on New York Time.  Double Daylight Time?  It’ll never happen.  Neither will two time zones when the legislators get a look at the Washington, D.C. sunrise/sunset table in this proposed system.

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