Why can’t the US have only two time zones, each an hour apart?

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In the wee hours of November 3, much of the nation — with the exception of Hawaii and Arizona — will go through the yearly ritual of “falling back,” setting the clocks back one hour for daylight savings time.

The U. S. is not alone. Seventy-eight countries, including all of Canada (except Saskatchewan), parts of Europe, Australia and New Zealand will also lose an hour of daylight in the evening, a tradition with its roots in the 1970s-era energy conservation trend.

Now some reason it would be more effective if we abandon the practice, writes economist Allison Schrager on the Quartz blog. When changing the clocks, energy savings are not only minimal, but also there is evidence the disrupted sleep cycles actually reduces productivity.

The airline travel industry, Schrager says, loses $147 million annually by not being  in step with European counties.

Schrager suggests that this year, Americans living in the Eastern Standard Time set clocks back as normal while those in the Central and Mountain times do nothing and residents in the Pacific zone set clocks ahead one hour.

This will, in effect, create two time zones — Eastern and Western  – creating “uncountable benefits” of living in a country with only two time zones. This coordination will help business evolve, much in the same way the country’s four time zones were established 1883, which had brought standardization to the nearly 300 “zones” in use due to apparent solar time (with sundials and such).

With an interconnected world, brought about by the internet and wireless communications, the need for fewer, more reasonable time zones is required.

Of course, the goal of reducing the amount of time zones will only happen through international cooperation. Two-hour jumps between America’s revised zones and adjacent zones will not line up with time zones of Mexico and Canada.

But it wasn’t a problem when rich Western countries adopted daylight saving before other countries. Since time is arbitrary, Schrager notes, why not get time to work in our favor?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.