Does Brazil Have Daylight Savings Time?

credit: Peter Parker

Daylight savings time (DST) can be a boon for countries that wish to save energy or maintain specific economic sectors. Brazil has a history with DST that dates back almost a century, with a mixed reception. It’s vital for business or otherwise, so let’s see if Brazil has DST.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro abolished daylight savings time in 2019. It did not save energy as initially intended, had economic repercussions, and created health problems for 43.2% of the population. Brazil has four time zones, BRT, AMT, ACT, and FNT, and no longer move their clocks.

Is There Daylight Savings Time In Brazil?

Brazil used to have daylight savings time, but President Jair Bolsonaro abolished it in 2019. They had DST for some years but not for others. During the years they had DST, they horário de verão, or summer time. These years included:

  • 1931 – 1933
  • 1949 – 1953
  • 1963 – 1968
  • 1985 – 2019

At first, it applied to the whole of Brazil, but authorities later changed it only to affect Brazil’s South, Southeast, and Central-West regions.

People had to move their clocks forward by one hour at midnight on the first Sunday of November. They had to move them back by one hour at midnight on the third Sunday of February. It was ideal because it meant people could use more natural light and save energy.

The only exception came with the celebration of the Carnival festival, where they postponed the advancement of time by a week.

Why Did Brazil Abolish Daylight Savings Time?

Brazil decided to step away from DST because it demonstrated low energy savings, hindered various economic sectors,  and negatively impacted peoples’ biological clocks.

Energy Saving

One of the primary reasons Brazil implemented DST was to reduce electricity consumption throughout the country. However, the Ministry of Mines and Energy conducted a study called Atlas of Energy Efficiency in Brazil 2022, which they published in April 2023.

The study shows that energy savings from 2016 – 2017 were a disappointing 0.39%. It also confirmed that people started using more electricity in the mornings than in the evenings. The reason was people’s habits and routines changed to adapt to DST.

Economic Repercussions

Daylight Savings Time causes delays, errors, and interference that hinder the progress of local businesses. Logistic operations have reduced efficiency, while importing and exporting goods become more challenging to manage.

When it came to international travel, DST harmed flight availability and pricing, requiring airlines to adjust their flight routes and schedules regularly.

Poor Quality Of Sleep

A Ministry of Mines and Energy survey revealed that 53.6% of Brazilians were against DST, while 43.2% supported it.

The 53.6% who disliked DST was against it because:

  • They felt DST diminished their sleep quality by setting out their biological clocks and daily routines. It was a source of discomfort and new health problems.
  • They did not perceive any significant energy savings or environmental benefits from DST.
  • It was more convenient to have DST early in the morning than late in the evening. This was especially true in the regions with the highest humidity and temperatures.

The 43.2% who were in favor of DST wanted it because:

  • They preferred having their daylight in the evening, allowing them to become more social and engage in leisure activities.
  • It contributed to fewer traffic accidents and lower crime rates. Drivers and pedestrians were more visible, decreasing the window that criminals had to commit a crime.
  • They liked the concept of energy preservation and the positive impact it can have on the environment. It reduced the need for air conditioning and other forms of lighting.

What Clock Does Brazil Use?

Brazil uses a clock called Brasília Time (BRT), the ruling time zone in eastern Brazil and the entire country.

Of Brazil’s 27 states, 21 of them (90% of the population) live according to the BRT time zone. It includes metropolitan cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Brasilia Time (BRT) is helpful during winter when they do not have Daylight Saving Time. Many regions switch to Brasilia Summer Time (BRST) when summer begins. The primary reason for this is because BRT has a Coordinated Universal Time  (UTC) difference of three hours.

How Many Time Zones Are There In Brazil?

Brazil has four time zones spread across different regions, representing zones ranging from UTC-2 to UTC-5. Let’s cover each of them and look at their affected areas. Remember, Brailz no longer has daylight savings time in all these time zones.

Brasília Time (BRT)

As previously mentioned, Brasília Time (BRT) is the primary time zone in Brazil. Here are all the states that use the BRT time zone:

  • Acre
  • Alagoas
  • Amapá
  • Bahia
  • Ceará
  • Distrito Federal
  • Espírito Santo
  • Goiás, Maranhão
  • Mato Grosso
  • Mato Grosso do Sul
  • Minas Gerais, Pará
  • Paraíba, Paraná
  • Pernambuco
  • Piauí
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Rio Grande do Norte
  • Rio Grande do Sul
  • Rondônia, Roraima
  • Santa Catarina
  • São Paulo
  • Sergipe and Tocantins

It is equivalent to UTC-3 during standard time and UTC-2 during daylight saving time.

Amazon Time (AMT)

Amazon Time (AMT) is Brazil’s second most used time zone. The states that use it are:

  • Amazonas (except the westernmost municipalities)
  • Mato Grosso (except the westernmost municipalities)
  • Rondônia and Roraima

It’s the same as UTC-4 during standard time and UTC-3 during daylight saving time.  

Acre Time (ACT)

Acre Time (ACT) is the third time zone in  Brazil and covers the following states:

  • Acre and the westernmost municipalities of Amazonas

It equals UTC-5 during standard time and UTC-4 during daylight saving time.

Fernando de Noronha Time (FNT)

Fernando de Noronha Time (FNT) is the least used time zone and covers the following regions:

  • Only the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha
  • Some islands in the Atlantic Ocean

It’s the same as UTC-2 during standard time and UTC-1 during daylight saving time.

How Far Ahead Is Brazil Time?

Brazil has four time zones, ranging from UTC-2 to UTC-5. The United States has nine time zones, ranging from UTC-10 to UTC-4. Europe has seven time zones, ranging from UTC-1 to UTC+5.

Comparing Brasília Time (BRT), which is the primary time zone in Brazil, with Eastern Time (ET), which is the foremost time zone in the US, will show that BRT is one hour ahead of ET during standard time and two hours ahead of ET during daylight saving time.

As for Europe, comparing BRT with Central European Time (CET), the primary time zone in Europe will reveal that BRT is four hours behind CET during standard time and five hours behind CET during daylight saving time.