It may not require 1.21 gigawatts of electricity for you to spring forward tonight—that is, tomorrow at 2 a.m.—but a new study does show that rather than save energy, Daylight Saving Time may very well lead to added energy consumption, potentially costing the country many billions of dollars.
The great state of Indiana (biggup Hoosiers woohoo!) only started observing DST in the past few years, and not everyone in the state observes it yet. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara saw this as a unique opportunity to study electricity consumption, comparing usage before and after the transition, and even usage between those observing DST and those not.
The results of the study say that while lightbulbs are used less because of the added daylight, air-conditioning in the summer and heating in the fall are used more than they would with an hour less daylight. Overall, the cost to Indiana residents was around $8.6 million a year in higher energy bills, plus up to $5.3 million per year in "increased pollution costs."
According to the Census Bureau, the population of Indiana is 6 million while the overall US population is 300 million. Even though energy demands certainly change from state to state, you can easily see that even if this trend extends across just the north half of the country, it could be plenty expensive.
The funny thing is, although the Energy Policy Act of 2005 added an extra month of DST to the calendar, nobody had actually studied whether or not DST saves energy. Feel free to introduce your own tragicomic energy-loving, science-hating, competency-shunning Texas Republican joke below—I'm just too weary of this crap to think of one. [USA Today]