A July 28 editorial, "EDT Plus," endorsed one of the oddest and most poorly considered elements of the recent energy bill -- the extension of daylight saving time. This purported energy-conservation measure is likely to increase the demand for oil.
The co-sponsors of the provision, Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), promoted the idea based on nothing more than a discredited 1975 Transportation Department report. What went unmentioned in the editorial was that the follow-up scientific study the next year by the then-Bureau of National Standards found no evidence of energy saving but found a clear increase in traffic fatalities among schoolchildren. The editorial also did not mention that the Transportation Department concluded in 2001 that no change to daylight saving time should be considered until more is understood about likely increases in energy consumption resulting from additional driving caused by more evening activities.
U.S. airlines and their customers have a lot to lose from the disruption of finely tuned international schedules. Expensive reprogramming of high-tech systems with embedded daylight saving time change-over dates would be needed.
Legislation claiming to conserve energy should be based on more than whim. Congress has called for a report on the likely energy effects of extending daylight saving time. I hope that report will prompt lawmakers to repeal this ill-conceived measure before it goes into effect in 2007.
President and Chief Executive
Air Transport Association