Difference between East Coast Time and West Coast Time

June 15, 2017 by Editorial Team

The earth rotates on its axis and one full turn is equivalent to one day. As it spins around, different parts of the world experience day and night. Different parts of the world have different time zones. This means that wherever you are, your noontime is the middle of the day when the sun is at its highest. There are different time zones in the United States and two of these are the East Coast and West Coast time zones. As you read this article, you’ll learn more about these two time zones and discover their differences.

Definitions

East Coast Time vs West Coast Time
The New York skyline on the East Coast

East Coast time is also called “Eastern Time Zone.” The East Coast usually refers to the coastline of the 48 contiguous states of the United States along the Atlantic Ocean. There are 14 coastal states that form the East Coast. Running from north to south, these states are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida (although part of the panhandle is in Central Time Zone). Other states in East Coast time that aren’t bordering the ocean are Vermont, Pensylvania, Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and the eastern portions of Kentucky and Tennessee. The standard time in East Coast time or what is called the Eastern Standard Time (EST), observed during autumn and winter, is five hours behind the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Coordinated Universal Time is the central time standard wherein the world adjusts their clocks and time. When it’s spring and summer time, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is used when observing daylight saving time (DST). This is four hours behind Coordinated Universal Time.

The largest city in East Coast time is New York. It is also the most populous city in the Eastern Time Zone. East Coast time is one hour ahead of the Central Time Zone and two hours ahead of the Mountain Time Zone.

West Coast time
Los Angeles skyline, in West Coast time

West Coast time is also called “Pacific Time Zone” in the United States and Canada. The West Coast usually refers to the coastline of the three contiguous states of the United States along the Pacific Ocean, namely: California, Oregon (although an eastern portion is part of Mountain Time Zone), and Washington. The northern part of Idaho and Nevada are also part of West Coast time. West Coast time uses standard time or what is called Pacific Standard Time (PST) by subtracting eight hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This is during late autumn to early spring. In spring and summer, Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) is used when observing daylight saving time. Pacific Daylight Time is seven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time.

Los Angeles in California is the largest city in West Coast time as its metropolitan area is the widest in the zone. West Coast time is one hour behind the Mountain Time Zone and two hours behind the Central Time Zone.

East Coast Time vs West Coast Time

What is the difference between East Coast and West Coast time? There are twenty-one states that are in (or partially in) East Coast time while there are five states in (or partially in) West Coast time. East Coast time is also known as the Eastern Time Zone whereas the West Coast Time is called the Pacific Time Zone. East Coast time is three hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone. West Cost time, on the other hand, is three hours behind the Eastern Time Zone.

Comparison Chart

East Coast TimeWest Coast Time
There are 21 states in the East Coast time zoneThere are 5 states in the West Coast time zone
Also called the Eastern Time ZoneAlso called the Pacific Time Zone
3 hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone3 hours behind the Eastern Time Zone