The Ergosphere
Sunday, April 10, 2005
 

How to be pathetic

Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ed Markey (D-MA) have co-sponsored a measure to extend Daylight Saving Time by 2 months (hat tip: Enviropundit).  The alleged benefit is a savings of 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

US oil consumption is about 20 million barrels per day.  The alleged benefits amount to one twentieth of one percent.  Why are they wasting their time and issuing press releases on what amounts to Trivial Pursuit?  Is this what their constitutents sent them to Washington for?  Have they nothing better to do?

Those two should withdraw their bill and start over.  If they wanted to make a real difference, their bill should require that, by 2010, 50% of all passenger cars and light trucks sold in the USA must be able to travel 20 miles at 55 MPH on electricity alone, no liquid fuel allowed (the Prius Plus program has shown how easy this is to do).  This bill should also immediately return depreciation schedules for all business vehicles to normal at the same time... retroactively for all the doctors, lawyers and other people who bought huge trucks as status symbols instead of business necessities.  That would do something about our budget deficit too.

 
Comments:
I remember reading somewhere that the savings may also be illusory. When DST was first proposed, most people didn't have A/C. Now in the south, they do, and this could actually result in people coming home during hotter parts of the day and using more energy.
 
I expect that most of that energy would come from gas and coal rather than oil. However, it sure wouldn't take much to wipe out the savings; even a small increase in petroleum-powered recreation would do it.

Speaking of down south, one thing I've noticed is that solar water heaters appear to be rare beasts. This strikes me as odd. The potential for the South to get mileage out of something like Energy Innovations' concentrating collector (which produces electricity and hot water) looks like it's worth a lot more legislative attention than silliness with DST.
 
EP:

Of course there are just as many daylight hours with DST as without, so what's the thinking of these congressmen? Is it that if fewer hot hours were spent in the office that those office buildings wouldn't have to have AC running?

Of course that means more AC running in homes.

You're right, this is silly.
 
Here in Maine our legislature just rejected a bill to put us on Atlantic or Maritime Time. For all the seemingly dopey cutting and pasting of hours, it would have brought us one thing, a psychologically longer winter day. Instead of 21.Dec's light being something like 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., it would be 8:00 to 4:30. I, for one, was in favor of the change, if only because it tends to be warmer at the end of the day and we're more likely to be outside getting much needed fresh air and light.

Apparently, it was rejected because of "chaos" that would ensue, though no one, at least in the articles I read, could describe said chaos.
 
Rob, in Australia the government found that solar water heaters save more power away from tropical areas. This is because people use very little hot water when it's stinking hot. But still, solar hot water usually pays for itself in 7 years in Australia. You would expect there to be a lot more of them both here and in the U.S.
 
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