Clocks go forward, cars come out
* 13 April 2007
* From New Scientist Print Edition.
On 11 March, three weeks earlier than usual, the US set its clocks forward. The rationale: people would consume less electricity, save billions, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by millions of tonnes. While people did use less electricity, it looks like they made up for it by taking to the roads.
The Edison Electric Institute reports that the demand for electricity fell by 0.4 per cent for the three weeks after 11 March, compared with the same period last year. Even though changes in electricity usage due to other factors, such as variation in temperature, have yet to be factored in, the dip is significant given that US electricity usage has increased by 2.1 per cent per year during the past 10 years.
However, demand for gasoline during the three weeks increased 2.8 per cent on a year ago, according to the US Department of Energy. In contrast, gasoline usage has grown by only 1.5 per cent per year on average over the past decade. Last year a DoE study did predict consumers might take to their cars with extra daylight. Ed Legge of the Edison Electric Institute says that "any savings will be relatively small, if any".
"A study did predict that people would take to their cars with the extra daylight"
From issue 2599 of New Scientist magazine, 13 April 2007, page 7
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