Gas price data provided by gasnow.org. Charts are set to your local timezone.
About this Data
The charts above use the “standard” gas price given by gasnow.org. This price is recommended for users who want their transaction to confirm in less than 5 minutes and is a good indicator of the fair gas price at the time. The heatmap calculates an average of these standard prices for each 1 hour window using data from the previous two weeks.
What is Ethereum Gas?
Gas is used to pay for transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. The amount of gas required for each transaction depends on the complexity of the transaction. A simple transfer may use as much as 21,000 gas whilst a more complex transaction (for instance, those used in decentralized finance) could use in excess of 1,000,000 gas.
Each unit of gas has a price, simply referred to as the “gas price”. Gas prices are denoted in gwei, where 1 ETH = 1* 10^9 (1,000,000,000) gwei. With a gwei price of 5, a 21,000 gas transaction would cost 21,000 * 5 = 105,000 gwei (0.000105 ETH).
Gas Prices are Dynamic
While the amount of gas required for any given transaction remains constant, the gas price is dynamic. Users set the gas price when sending a transaction (this is often done automatically by wallet software) and transactions are then sent to the “mempool” for Ethereum miners to include in the next block. Miners are rewarded with the transaction fees inside a block and are therefore motivated to prioritize transactions with the higher gas price.
This incentive structure leads to an auction-style market where users bid up the gas price as a means to ensure that their transaction is picked up by a miner and settled quickly.
All things being equal:
- If the price of ETH increases, the average gas price decreases and vice versa.
- If the demand for settlement on Ethereum increases, so does the average as price and vice versa.
These two market conditions are what lead to the dynamic gas price that we see today.
Block Gas Limit
You may now be wondering why there is an auction for gas prices at all. Couldn’t miners just include every transaction in the mempool and maximize profit? The reason this doesn’t happen is because there is a restriction on the size of each Ethereum block. Unlike Bitcoin where the block size is restricted by its size in bytes, Ethereum blocks are restricted by the sum of the transaction gas used in the block.
If the block gas limit was 10,000,000, then each block (blocks are mined roughly every 15 seconds) could include a maximum of 476 transactions assuming each transaction used 21,000 gas. Of course in reality each transaction will use a different amount of gas.
The block gas limit is what leads to the very high gas prices that have been observed in the past. When there is a lot of demand for Ethereum, users bid up the gas price in the hope of being included in the next block. Users can still choose to set lower gas prices and be included later on, however these risk being stuck in a “pending” state or failing if the transaction relied on a state at
t0 which is no longer the same at (for instance)
The block gas limit is set by miners and has been increased several times in the past. Raising the block gas limit is controversial – while it allows more throughput on the Ethereum blockchain, it also increases the overall size of the blockchain (in bytes).