Why Is The Hawaii Time Zone So Different?

Why Is The Hawaii Time Zone So Different?
Why Is The Hawaii Time Zone So Different?

There are a few different time zones in the United States. However, one state, Hawaii, has its unique time zone. It is drastically different from the rest of the country. So, why is the Hawaii time zone so different? 

Hawaii has such a different time zone from the rest of the United States due to how far away it is. It is over 3,700 miles from the continental US, which means that it is several time zones away. If it had the same time zone as other places in the United States, then it would get dark/light at rather odd hours of the day.

Let’s explain a little bit.

Why Is The Hawaii Time Zone So Different?

To understand why the Hawaii time zone is different, it is important to understand how time zones work.

The world is a sphere (well, close enough). As it rotates, some parts of the planet will be getting sun, while others will be left in the dark. Depending on where you are on the planet, the sun will rise and set at different times.

The United States is a large country. There are four different time zones in the continental US to account for this. After all, the time that the sun rises and sets in California will be different from that of New York. It wouldn’t work if everything was in the same time zone.

Then we have Hawaii. It is 3,700 miles to the west of the country. This is a huge amount of distance, considering the continental US is just 2,800 miles wide. This means that the time that the sun rises and sets in Hawaii is going to be massively different. 

What Time Zone is Hawaii In?

Hawaii operates in the Hawaii-Aleutian Time Zone (HST). This operates on UTC-10.  Up until 1947, this was UTC-10:30.

French Polynesia and the Aleutian Islands (mostly part of Alaska) are in the same time zone. Although, it is worth noting that French Polynesia does not refer to Hawaii-Aleutian Time. There, it is called Tahiti Time. However, it is effectively the same time zone so it doesn’t make too much of a difference.

Does Hawaii Have Daylight Saving Time?

No. Hawaii used to have DST, although it no longer does. The Aleutian Islands, in the same time zone, do have DST. 

The reason why Hawaii does not have DST and the Aleutian Islands do is down to their location. The Aleutian Islands sit in Alaska. This means that they are at the top of the planet. This means that it can get dark earlier during the winter months, and the changing of the clock helps to extend the day.

Because Hawaii is much closer to the equator, the length of the day-night cycle doesn’t change all that much throughout the year. The daylight is pretty consistent whether it is summer or winter. This means that it doesn’t need to ‘gain’ an extra hour of daylight. 

Final Thoughts

Hawaii has a different time zone from most of the US due to its location. However, it does share a time zone with the Aleutian Islands, which are part of Alaska, although, with a population of under 9,000, those islands are barely inhabited. 

Similar Topics 

Time Zones

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!