The Legislature last year passed a bill by Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, instructing the Governor's Office of Economic Development to study what Utahns think about daylight saving time and to hold public meetings on it.
GOED staged several hearings, huddled with key industries and conducted an unscientific online survey. It had more than 27,000 responses, showing daylight saving is a hot topic.
GOED's Michael O'Malley said Utahns did not simply answer multiple-choice questions, but 13,000 of them left written often lengthy and passionate comments.
He said they submitted 574,000 words combined, nearly the number of words in Leo Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace."
In the final tally, 67 percent of respondents favor keeping Mountain Standard Time all year. In second place, 18 percent prefer creating a new system to keep daylight saving time all year. In last place, 15 percent preferred to keep the current system of springing forward an hour in the spring, and falling back an hour in the autumn.
"Convenience really stood out" as a reason for supporting year-round Mountain Standard Time, O'Malley said. "People don't want to move their clocks forward, backward. ... They just want to set them and leave them."
Many said the "time change is disruptive to their health," he added. "At-home parents were concerned about kids walking to school in the dark."
On the other hand, O'Malley said, the tourism and recreation industries "love that extra hour in the summertime to pursue their recreation" with sunset not coming until about 9 p.m.
"Lagoon notes they would lose one hour of revenue [daily] in their prime season," he said. "Sports associations would be challenged to fit all their games in a schedule."
Val Hale, GOED's new executive director, said the golf industry "would lose approximately $24 million a year because more golfers are apt to go between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. than they are between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning."
O'Malley said organizations such as the Salt Lake Chamber and Ski Utah also favor the current system, in part to reduce confusion with travelers and tourists by being on a different system than most of the nation.
Arizona and Hawaii are the only states that do not switch to and from daylight saving time.
Some entities urged caution and more study. For example, O'Malley said, the Utah Highway Patrol looked at crash data and found that the time change is not a significant factor in accidents even though grass-roots comments show they perceive it as a cause for crashes.
O'Malley pointed out that Rocky Mountain Power said temperature, not light, drives power usage, so keeping or dumping daylight time may not play a big role in saving energy.