Federal Fuel Administration
The Federal Fuel Administration was a World War I-era agency of the Federal government of the United States established by Executive Order 2690 of August 23, 1917 pursuant to the Food and Fuel Control Act, managed use of coal and oil. To conserve energy, it introduced daylight saving time, shortened work weeks for civilian goods factories, and encouraged Heatless Mondays.
Even prior to a declaration of war by the United States, shortages of coal were experienced in the winter of 1916-17. To address concerns about a steady supply of fuel to support military and industrial operations and for use by consumers, in 1917 the Federal Fuel Administration was established and US President Woodrow Wilson appointed Harry A. Garfield to lead the agency. Garfield in turn selected local administrators for each state. Fuel committees were organized down to the county level.
The activities of the administration included setting and enforcing the prices of coal. The administration had broad powers to set the price of coal at various points (mine, dock) and the cost of transportation (by rail), and in regard to end use (home, factory, or business, etc.).
Daylight Saving Time was formally adopted in the United States in 1918 by the Fuel Administration. The Standard Time Act of 1918 established both standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. The idea was unpopular, however, and Congress abolished DST after the war, overriding President Woodrow Wilson's veto. DST became a local option and was observed in some states until World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST, called "War Time," on February 9, 1942. It lasted until the last Sunday in September 1945. The next year, many states and localities adopted summer DST.
By mid-1922, the administration's activities were declining and some states were taking a more active role in managing coal production.
- GARFIELD ASKS AID OF COAL CONSUMERS; Wants Them to Co-operate in Enforcing Prices Fixed by Him. TO NAME STATE AGENTS Seeks Voluntary Arrangements with Operators for Adjustment of Contracts. The New York Times. September 8, 1917
- GARFIELD TO FIX RETAIL COAL PRICES; Administrator Likely to Make Announcement Before Oct. 1 The New York Times. September 11, 1917
- PRICE FIXED FOR LAKE COAL.; $6.20 to $7 for Run of Mine on Michigan and Superior October 29, 1917
- GOVERNOR ARRIVES TO PICK FUEL HEAD; L. T. Harkness Looked On as Most Likely to Be the Administrator The New York Times.on August 31, 1922 states: "... Mr. Outerbridge said the Federal Fuel Administration was 'dissolving and going home,' indicating that the failure of the Washington officials to continue to function withdrew needed support from the local fuel officials."