Difference Wiki

Pacific Time vs. Eastern Time: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on December 2, 2023
Pacific Time (PT) is the time zone used on the West Coast of the USA, 3 hours behind Eastern Time (ET), the time zone used on the East Coast.

Key Differences

Pacific Time (PT) applies to the western part of the United States, including states like California and Washington, whereas Eastern Time (ET) is used in the eastern part, including states like New York and Florida.
PT is typically 3 hours behind ET, meaning when it's 12 PM in Pacific Time, it's 3 PM in Eastern Time. This time difference affects TV broadcasting schedules, business hours, and travel planning between these regions.
During daylight saving time, Pacific Time is referred to as Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) and is 2 hours behind Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Outside daylight saving, it reverts to Pacific Standard Time (PST) and Eastern Standard Time (EST), maintaining the 3-hour difference.
PT's morning is ET's midday, impacting communication and coordination for businesses and individuals working across these zones. Conversely, evening in ET corresponds to late afternoon in PT, influencing prime time TV shows and live events' timings.
The time zone difference also plays a role in financial markets; when stock markets open at 9:30 AM in ET, it's 6:30 AM in PT, affecting trading strategies and business operations on both coasts.

Comparison Chart

Geographic Location

Western United States
Eastern United States

Standard Time Offset

UTC -8 hours
UTC -5 hours

Daylight Saving Time Offset

UTC -7 hours (Pacific Daylight Time, PDT)
UTC -4 hours (Eastern Daylight Time, EDT)

Notable States/Cities

California, Washington, Oregon
New York, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts

Impact on Daily Activities

Earlier work hours, late broadcast of live events
Later work hours, earlier broadcast of live events

Pacific Time and Eastern Time Definitions

Pacific Time

Refers to both Pacific Standard Time (PST) and Pacific Daylight Time (PDT).
TV shows in Pacific Time may broadcast an hour later than in Eastern Time.

Eastern Time

The time zone used in the eastern part of the US.
The flight lands at 5 PM Eastern Time in New York.

Pacific Time

Time standard for regions like California and Oregon.
Businesses in California operate according to Pacific Time.

Eastern Time

UTC -4 hours during daylight saving time.
During daylight saving, Eastern Time shifts to UTC -4.

Pacific Time

The time zone used in the western part of the US.
The conference call is scheduled at 10 AM Pacific Time.

Eastern Time

Time standard for regions like New York and Florida.
Financial markets in New York open according to Eastern Time.

Pacific Time

UTC -8 hours in standard time.
Pacific Time is aligned with UTC -8 during the winter months.

Eastern Time

UTC -5 hours in standard time.
Eastern Time follows UTC -5 during standard time.

Pacific Time

UTC -7 hours during daylight saving time.
In summer, Pacific Time shifts to UTC -7.

Eastern Time

Refers to both Eastern Standard Time (EST) and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
News broadcasts in Eastern Time are aired three hours ahead of Pacific Time.


What states are in Pacific Time?

States like California, Oregon, and Washington use Pacific Time.

What's the standard time offset for PT?

Pacific Standard Time (PST) is UTC -8 hours.

Do PT and ET observe daylight saving time?

Yes, both time zones observe daylight saving time.

What's the standard time offset for ET?

Eastern Standard Time (EST) is UTC -5 hours.

How does the time difference affect television broadcasting?

TV shows are often aired at different times to accommodate both time zones.

How do stock markets in ET and PT synchronize?

Markets adjust their opening and closing times to account for the time difference.

What happens to PT during daylight saving time?

It shifts to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), which is UTC -7 hours.

Are there cultural differences between these time zones?

There can be cultural variations, but they are not solely due to the time zones.

What is the main difference between PT and ET?

The main difference is the time offset; PT is 3 hours behind ET.

How does the time difference affect business operations?

It affects coordination for meetings, deadlines, and opening hours.

How do airlines handle the time difference?

Flight schedules and durations are adjusted according to the time zones.

How does the time difference impact travel?

Travelers need to adjust their watches and schedules when moving between these zones.

Does ET change during daylight saving time?

Yes, it becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), UTC -4 hours.

Are there any exceptions in these time zones?

Some regions in these zones may not observe daylight saving time.

What is the impact on shipping and logistics?

Delivery and operation schedules must account for the time difference.

How does the time difference affect sports events?

Game times are scheduled to accommodate viewers in both time zones.

What challenges do multinational companies face?

They need to coordinate across different time zones for meetings and projects.

What is the impact on federal operations?

Federal operations must be coordinated across different time zones.

What are the implications for international calls?

Callers must consider the time difference to avoid calling at inconvenient hours.

How does the time difference affect online events?

Online events must be scheduled considering participants from different time zones.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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