The actual cost depends on your car mileage, number of people traveling in the car, type of motels/restaurant you intend to lodge in. However, you one can get close enough estimates based on average for the following: Medium sized car in pretty good shape, no passengers other than the driver, moderate quality motel, fast food restaurants.
The driving distance between NYC and SF is just over 2,900 miles. Assuming you intend to spend 9 hours each day on the rood, out of which you should deduct 2 hours for food, rests, gas etc. That leaves about 7 hours of driving. At an average speed of 60 MPH, you should average 60*7= 420 miles every day. 2,900/420 = 6.9 days. Allowing for unpredictable stoppages etc, say 7 days.
Motels: 6 nights @ $60 = $360
Food 7 days @ $40/person = $280
Gas 2900 miles/24 mpg = 121 gallons @ say $3 = $363
Miscellaneous; $15 per day x 7 days = $105.
Total approximate cost = $360 + $280 + $363 + $105 = $ 1,108
Not allowing for breakdown or unforeseen, $1,200 should be a fair estimate of the cost of the trip.
Here are the driving directions and miles breakdown for that trip:
Hope this helps.
Ok, in that case here is how much you may be able to do it for:
Say you leave early in the morning (4 am), depending on how little rest you need and how much you can endure, you may be able to stay on the road until 10 pm that day. That is 18 hours altogether (you will gain an hour as you cross from one time zones to another which will work to your advantage). Say you take 1 hour for snacks, gas and some rest. That leaves 17 hours for driving. At an average speed of 60 mph, you would cover 17 * 62 = 1.054 miles. That is 1.054 the 1st day, plus 1,054 the next day, plus 792 miles the 3rd day. So you will get there on the third day in the afternoon.
Here are the costs:
Motel: 2 nights at $60 = $120
Food 3 days at $40 = $120
Gas 2900 miles/24 mpg = 121 gallons @ say $3 = $363Miscellaneous; $15 per day x 3 days = $45
Total estimated cost = $120 + $120 + $363 + $45 = .$648