For commutes, the average number of people per car in the U.S. was 1.1, according to 2008 data. That’s a lot of unused capacity. So what will it take to get Americans offering rides to strangers? Technology. American entrepreneurs are hoping they can use online tools to match up empty seats with aspiring travelers. Riders and drivers set their own prices, and the company’s website plays matchmaker, taking a fee if users pay online. All of them are trying to crack the puzzle and shift the mentality of thinking about giving someone a lift as a finding a potential road trip buddy instead of a hitchhiking ax murderer. By formalizing it online and using technology, the U.S. could be more like Europe by tapping our idle asset of empty seats.