Day Four: When SUVs are quickly becoming an excess rather than a commodity, the pool is becoming a popular place this summer. The carpool, that is. The most interesting carpool story I've seen is that of what's happening in San Francisco. For years, Bay Area commuters have used "casual carpools," where drivers eager to avoid tolls and cut travel time offer rides to strangers waiting in lines on corners. According to locals, corners that used to see four or five waiting passengers have recently seen about 20 waiting passengers. "Casual carpool" etiquette? Don't talk unless the driver initiates conversation. No smoking, food, drinks or exchanging money. When it comes to carpooling, it's really a battle of saving time and money vs. feeling awkward. While most Americans would save a few tanks of gas money each month and hours of time by using the HOV lanes if they were to start carpooling, would they be willing to step out of their comfort zones and spend a couple hours each day with a near-stranger? In a society that is only saying "no" to SUVs after getting to the point where it costs nearly triple digits to fuel up, I find it hard to believe that carpooling could actually become a trend. –Lindsay Goodier, Online Editor,;;