Arizona Does Not Recognize Daylight Saving Time

If my timing were better I would have discussed this a few days ago but usually this doesn’t become very visible until the last moment, and then I forget about it and go on with my life. Invariably, twice a year, right before the change to/from Daylight Saving Time, my web traffic logs start to hum with stacks of referrals from search engines that look like this:

  • does arizona recognize daylight savings time
  • why doesnt arizona recognize DST
  • time zone Arizona
  • arizona time in the summer
  • is all of arizona in the same time zone

I’ve noticed at least thirty permutations of this same basic theme in the last week. They all logically channel to my “What time is it in Arizona?” page where I provide an anecdote about a time that I benefited unwittingly from this situation, and then focus on the truly strange way DST relates to and interacts with the Navajo and Hopi native American nations. The page stays quiet much of the year but it’s soaring with hits right now. Its Google Analytics chart shows a huge upward spike these last few days.

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Most of Arizona does not recognize Daylight Saving Time. Neither does Hawaii by the way. Indiana used to be part of this select group too but switched in 2006. This whole set of topics is thoroughly covered by Wikipedia under Daylight Saving Time and The History of Time in the United States, so please consult that source if you feel a need for the full set of details.

Its benefits, while highly touted, are decidedly mixed and even somewhat controversial. One recent study receiving a lot of press attention goes so far as to suggest that Indiana’s switch to DST may have wasted more energy than it saved. This would contradict the entire impetus behind the expansion of DST to cover an additional four weeks in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

In my Arizona Time page I answered the “what” but I didn’t answer the “why.” If the keyword searches are any indication there seems to be a desire to know more. I dug a little deeper. The best explanation I can find is provided on the Daylight Saving Time page from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records organization. Interestingly, Arizona has actually recognized DST periodically throughout its history, but not since 1967 and generally only during wartime.

There are a couple of different reasons rooted in the state’s geography. First, it’s located in an arid desert climate that is blazing hot during summer months. Sundown brings relief so there’s no incentive to push nightfall further into the evening. People want the cooler air during waking hours when they can enjoy it. Second it’s located at the far western fringes of the Mountain Time Zone. Keeping a common time with California and Mexico during the summer is believed to be beneficial overall from a business standpoint.

Daylight Saving Time Worldwide
Source of DST Worldwide Map: Wikipedia Daylight Saving Time page

If anything, Arizona seems to be more in synch with much of the rest of the world which appears to be deemphasizing Daylight Saving Time. Many countries have never recognized DST and many others have discontinuing it. Plus, they never have to change their clocks.

Is it possible to run afoul of this anomaly?

In the summer of 1992 a group of friends took a trip across the United States to visit the crown jewels of the National Park system. They arrived at the northern rim of the Grand Canyon to relax awhile, and they camped, hiked and toured. On the second day they stopped at the Grand Canyon Lodge saloon to swap stories and wind down with a couple of drinks after a long day climbing over difficult terrain. Closing time approached and they found themselves wishing for one more beer. Last call didn’t happen as expected. The saloon remained open and people kept ordering drinks. The guys were perplexed. They learned eventually that they’d forgotten that Arizona does not recognize Daylight Saving Time. The guys had been using the wrong time for two days.

I was one of those guys. While this is a little embarrassing to admit, I have to add that we were elated and grateful to "find" that hour. How often does one wish for more time and actually get it?

9 Replies to “Arizona Does Not Recognize Daylight Saving Time”

  1. We have been heavily debating if Arizona recognizes DST in our state of North Carolina. I found your website with all the answers. Thank you. You proved me RIGHT! On the other hand, WE DO recognize DST and we do get to have an extra hour to drink and sleep.

  2. I was visiting USA back in the summer of 2011 with family and spent a night and the next day in AZ. We arrived in Page (in the Navajo area) at 10:30 and were quite surprised when the guides at Antelope Canyon said that the tour would start at 10. We asked, but didn’t quite understand. We got that Arizona used pacific time and the navajo area not, or opposite. But apparently they announced the time of the tour in normal AZ time then.

    We continued driving towards Las Vegas without really having an idea about what the clock was, and when we returned to Hoover Dam 2 days later on the NV-AZ border we were surprised to see that the huge clocks on both sides showed the same time! We concluded that the AZ clock had to be wrong and drove on 😀 We didn’t really think more about it before we came home and I checked it out.

  3. Having lived in AZ for 22 years, I don’t miss the time changes twice a year. It does cause some confusion, especially when coordinating conference calls with colleagues on the East Coast. I have to remind myself if we’re two hours behind, or three.

    In summer, the timing of nightfall is irrelevant. It stays blazing hot even after the sun sets. However, when I lived in California, I found the winter time change to be awkward; suddenly, sunset was at 4:30 in the afternoon. I did not like that.

    Where it gets awkward is when traveling between Utah and Arizona. It’s odd to travel north or south and be compelled to changes one’s time. In the old days, I kept my watches/vehicle clock set to AZ time. These days with cell phones automatically updating the time based on nearest tower, it’s not an issue.

  4. I have seen a local phenomenon with this issue; once, while assisting on an archaeological project in Rodeo, NM. Our work started in Las Cruces NM, over 2 hours east, after which time we turned around at the Arizona state line and started to record the site data for our project. At that point we were traveling east on NM Highway 80 that travels east from Douglas AZ. My colleague and I stopped at a general store there in Rodeo to purchase a few beverages after the drive. While in the store, I noticed something on a handbill advertising a local dance that I had never seen to me in print before: “Arizona and New Mexico time”. I had to chuckle. Makes sense in a remote location like this that you’d need two separate times to make sure everyone shows up for the event in a timely manner!

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