Time Zone Refresh Part III – The United States of America

The USA really does have a grand name, doesn’t it.  Unfortunately it’s not an entirely accurate name, as the country doesn’t even unite the states of North America, let alone all of America.  Only the 48 states in a central zone of North America, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands and a few other territories are included.  But as currently the most powerful country on earth, the USA deserves its grand name. 

Many people inside and outside the USA grumble that the country just can’t seem to get some essential things right: debt, healthcare, immigration, plutocracy.  I can’t help the US with these problems, but at least I can fix their time zones!

Go here to see my Time Zone Refresh for Mexico and Canada.

At the moment, the USA has the following time zones:

Hawaii Time Zone (-10 GMT):  Hawaii

Alaska Time Zone (-9 GMT):  Alaska

Pacific Time Zone (-8 GMT):  Washington, Oregon (excluding an eastern segment), Nevada, California, North Idaho.

Mountain Time Zone (-7 GMT):  Montana, Idaho (excluding the northern panhandle), Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, El Paso Texas, southwest North Dakota, western South Dakota and Nebraska, and a sliver of west Kansas.

Central Time Zone (-6 GMT):  The remainder of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska; almost all of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas (excluding El Paso), Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, the northwest sliver of Michigan, west Kentucky, west Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and the western part of the Florida panhandle. 

Eastern Time Zone (-5 GMT):  Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, most of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, east Kentucky, East Tennessee, Maryland, District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Daylight Savings is used by most places, except Arizona (excluding some First Nations in the northeast), and Indiana. 

There is a strong possibility I got a few details incorrect, missed a few exceptions to these time zones, or even missed an entire state.  If you know of any problems, please let me know and I’ll update this post.

Here are the changes that should be made.

Alaska needs to move one hour back, to join Hawaii at -10 GMT.  The Alaskan panhandle however should stay at -9 GMT – also called the new Yukon Time Zone. 

All of Oregon and Idaho need to be in the Pacific Time Zone.  Also, Montana west of the Continental Divide/Helena should be there too.

Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas need to join the Mountain/Plains Time Zone, as does the remainder of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.

The following states need to move into the Central Time Zone: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia.  The remainder of Kentucky, Tennessee and all of the Florida panhandle west of Highway 75 need to do the same.  If Georgia really compains, maybe the coastal third of the state could stay in the Eastern Time Zone.

All in all, the USA hasn’t done too badly in their interpretations of time zones, with the exception of Alaska.  The states just need to be moved around some to better align with the real time zones.  I haven’t split states by time zones, except where there’s a clear geographical split like a mountain range or a panhandle. 

As usual, I dislike Daylight Savings, but if a state decides to adopt it, they should exercise their power and apply it over the entire state.

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