Arizona Is Different

Daylight Saving Time made everyone in the country move their clocks forward yesterday, stealing an hour of sleep from everyone and making them grumpy.

Well, except for Arizona and Hawaii.

Well, all of Arizona except for the Navajo Nation.

Why does Arizona not observe Daylight Saving Time like the rest of the country?

Because we’re free! As a state, we are fiercely independent. We do what we want! No one can tell us what to do.

OK. That’s not quite right either.

There’s actually a practical reason for it, but let’s start at the beginning.

The History

In 1918, the world was at war. Supplies were scarce. In an effort to save fuel for the war effort, congress established Daylight Savings Time with The Standard Time Act which extended the daylight for one hour.

The law was repealed in 1919, but Arizona participated in daylight saving for a few more years. Different counties in the state observed different time zones. It was still a bit of the wild west.

Congress passed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 and standardized time zones across the country.

Arizona adopted it for 1967, but the law gave states the ability to opt out of the law, which Arizona did the next year.

We tried it and decided, “Nah. I’ll pass.”

Why Is Arizona Different?

There were various interests that both wanted and didn’t want DST. Most of the country saved fuel used to light buildings.

In Phoenix, the fifth largest city in America, it gets hot during the day, and people need to run their air conditioners.

With an extra hour of daylight, the energy costs went up to run that air conditioning.

The finance businesses liked DST because it kept them in sync with the markets in the rest of the country.

Outdoor entertainment and recreation businesses, (read “golf”), liked it because people had more time to play outside.

Crime also goes down with more daylight hours.

Everyone else didn’t want to pay for the energy to run the air conditioning, so the state is officially on Mountain Standar Time year round.

Are There Problems?

When we lived in California, we would drive to Prescott for vacations. One year, we came for New Years.

I had to leave after work, so I wouldn’t get here until almost midnight on New Years Eve, but we wanted to see the fireworks at midnight.

As we got close to Prescott, we heard explosions in the distance.

I slowly realized that California time was not an hour off, but happened to be in sync with Arizona and we were an hour late to get here.

We totally missed the fireworks.

When you’re calling people back east, or in California, you need to check what time it is, and what time of year it is, to make sure you have the right time in their state.

I’ll call that an annoyance, even though I love fireworks.

Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation in Arizona observes DST, along with the rest of the Navajo Nation in Utah and New Mexico.

Because US authorities follow the Arizona rules, government offices in the Navajo Nation do not observe DST while the Nation does.

The Hopi Nation, which is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, does not observe DST, so as you drive through the different areas, your clock should be changing as you cross the borders.

Just ask a local what time it is.

This really is the wild west.