About This ETH Gas 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.
Ethereum is the most popular blockchain network, surpassing Bitcoin in terms of transfer of value. Its continued success, however, has not been without its setbacks. High gas fees and significant wait time for transaction processing have been a common grumble for Ethereum’s growing number of investors.
The Merge, a major network upgrade that moved the Ethereum network from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake in 2022, could lead to lower gas prices over time. However, even after The Merge, gas prices are driven by network demand (traffic) and the complexity of the transaction.
Let’s look at how Ethereum gas works and what these upgrades are likely to change.
What Is Ethereum Gas?
More than 1 million transactions take place on the Ethereum network on a daily basis, proof that Ethereum offers massive utility rather than just speculation on price. But even post-Merge, these transactions aren’t free. Gas fees are paid in Ether (ETH), the cryptocurrency fuel that powers the Ethereum blockchain.
Gas fees enable the network to perform simple transactions, such as sending ETH from wallet A to wallet B, or more complex transactions, such as claiming a yield through a smart contract paid in several types of ERC-20 tokens.
More complex transactions require more gas because they require more computational power from the network.
But Ethereum gas costs are also driven by network traffic. When the network is busy, you’ll pay more for the same transaction than when the network is less burdened. Some apps and wallets show a measurement of this cost called Gwei, also known as nanoether, representing 1 billionth of an ETH.
50 Gwei = 0.000000050 ETH
On Sunday, you might see 25 Gwei, whereas gas prices might reach 50 Gwei by Monday. Gas prices depend on the amount of traffic, meaning the demand for network computational power.
Higher Gwei equals a higher gas cost for the same transaction.
What Is An ETH Gas Tracker
Since gas usage and prices are ever-changing on Ethereum, we need a way to track them. That’s where the ETH gas tracker comes in: It allows anyone to see the current Ethereum gas price in real time.
The ETH gas price is a culmination of the amount of transactions happening at one time on the network, as well as the type of transactions occurring. Each type of transaction on the blockchain requires a different amount of gas and impacts the network’s congestion differently.
For example, it can be very cheap to transfer ETH to another wallet and won’t impact the network much. However, if you deploy a smart contract, or everyone is rushing to mint an NFT at the same time, gas prices can skyrocket quickly.
Checking the Ethereum gas price before transacting can help you save money and ensure your transaction goes through in a timely manner. And if you are an active DeFi user, being in the habit of checking the ETH gas price will really add up over time.
Lastly, being familiar with Ethereum gas prices can give you insights into market activity and network sentiment. Higher ETH gas prices signify that there is excitement on the network and there may be something to pay attention to.
How To Use An ETH Gas Chart
Now that we understand the importance of tracking gas, we need to be familiar with reading an ETH gas fees chart. And when it comes to Ethereum gas fee charts, we have two that we like to watch closely:
1/ The line chart at the top details gas prices over the last week: This ETH gas fee chart can be effective for seeing how busy Ethereum’s network has been during the last 7-day period.
Looking at this ETH gas fees chart, you can use spikes to determine when a major event may have happened on the network. It also complements our heat map chart, showing the times of day and days of the week when gas prices are typically the cheapest.
2/ The other Ethereum gas fee chart we like to watch is our heat map. This heat map uses historical data to visualize the busiest times on the Ethereum blockchain. Simply line up a day of the week and time, and measure historic congestion based on how red the box is.
Using this data, we can confidently say that the most ideal time to transact on the network is on the weekends. If you are transacting mid-week, your best bet is early morning or late at night (U.S. EST).
Gas Prices Are Dynamic
The Ethereum blockchain is similar to a highway. At 2 AM, there’s less traffic and smooth sailing. At rush hour, the highway gets congested. On crypto networks, expect to pay more as more users want to push through their transactions.
The Ethereum gas price and fees are determined by supply and demand. Ethereum users create the demand, while it is up to the network validation nodes to supply them with confirmed transactions.
Modern Ethereum wallets allow users to adjust gas fees to prioritize their transactions. Think of it like buying a first-class ticket on an airline. First-class travel costs more, but first-class passengers depart the plane first while the rest of the passengers crowd into the aisle and wait for the line to move.
The analogy isn’t perfect, however, because using a lower gas fee can cause your transaction to get stuck in the mempool (a database of unconfirmed transactions) if gas prices change and your fee is now too low. The transaction stays in mempool limbo until gas prices fall enough to confirm the transaction. If the gas fee is too low, transactions may fail.
Remember, gas is paid in ETH (Ether), so the price of ETH itself plays a role.
Therefore, there are a few elements that can cause the price of gas fees to fluctuate:
- Oscillation of the price of ETH since rewards are provided in the network’s native coin.
- Change in the demand for transactions to be confirmed. Higher volume and demand for quicker confirmations will drive up the price.
Block Gas Limit
Ethereum’s new consensus method (proof-of-stake) changed how the network validates transactions, but there’s still a limit to how many transactions can go into a block.
Rather than define the maximum based on the number of transactions, Ethereum uses a Block Gas Limit. This means the maximum size of each block is capped based on how much it costs to process the transactions in the block.
By contrast, The Bitcoin network restricts block size by bytes rather than the processing cost. Currently, the Ethereum network can push through about 30 transactions per second, whereas Bitcoin has a limit of 7-8 transactions per second — although limited by size rather than cost.
On the other hand, the Ethereum network is restricted by its gas limit. This represents the maximum amount of gas transactions within a block can consume. This is designed to help increase transaction time and maintain the decentralized network.
The Ethereum block gas limit has its roots in Ethereum 1.0, which used proof of work, in which miners validated transactions – much like how the Bitcoin network still works. In 2015, Ethereum had a block gas limit of just 5,000. Over time, miners increased this limit to 30 million, which is where it is today under Ethereum’s new proof-of-stake validation.
In the block detail from Etherscan, shown below, you can see the block gas limit set to 30,000,000.
You’ll also see that this particular block used just under 11 million gas units. Because most blocks are considerably smaller than the block gas limit, this limit plays a less critical role than it did in the ETH mining era — when more throughput meant more mining rewards.
The Ethereum network targets a 15 million gas unit block size, but the 30 million limit allows the network to expand the blocks if demand is high.
Ethereum Gas Prices After The Merge
The Merge has garnered near-mythical status in the crypto community. This is partly because it had been touted for release since 2017 (finally arriving in 2023).
The Merge was hoped to address several issues:
- Lower gas fees
- Quicker transaction confirmations
- Environmentally friendly network
- Stable Ether supply
What Will Ethereum 2.0 Do To Gas Prices?
So, did The Merge help gas costs? Not really.
The Merge did bring slightly quicker confirmations and a less inflationary ETH supply (as well as a planet-friendly consensus method). But gas prices didn’t change as a direct result, instead shifting with network demand. The Merge changed the consensus method but didn’t change the network capacity meaningfully.
Despite this, there is a silver lining. While The Merge may not impact gas fees, the use of roll-up technology can. Roll-ups are Layer-2 solutions that help transactions be processed off-chain.
They support scaling the Ethereum network and reducing costs. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin sees the benefit of these and believes that in the near future, gas fees for a transaction could be as low as a few USD cents.
Zero-Knowledge rollup networks like Polygon ZkEVM and ZkSync are already live, and Optimistic rollup networks like Arbitrum and Optimism continue to grow in popularity, bringing lower fees while using the Ethereum network to secure transactions.
Strategies To Reduce Gas Costs
While sharding and Layer-2 solutions may eventually reduce gas fees, it’s important to know what to do as an Ethereum user until then. Here are some strategies that may go a long way in reducing your costs of using this blockchain network.
Utilize A Layer-2 Solution
As we mentioned, Layer-2 solutions help reduce the burden placed on the network. They achieve this by moving the transaction information off-chain and then moving the results back onto the Ethereum network. L-2 solutions such as Optimism, Polygon, or Arbitrum are among the best of their kind, even receiving praise from Vitalik Buterin himself.
Choose The Right Moment
The Ethereum network might be comparable to a highly popular walkway most of the time, but it is not always this way. You can use online tools like the charts at the top of the page to predict the time of day when Ethereum transactions will be more infrequent. If you’re not in a great hurry and you manage to time your action just right, you could potentially cut your gas fee costs in half.
Simulate The Transaction
In order to reduce gas fees, it is essential to know how much these will actually be. Several online tools, such as Tenderly, DeFI Saver, and others allow users to simulate a crypto transaction. You can also see the estimated cost of the transaction in full-featured ETH wallets like MetaMask if you’re connected to a dApp.
Use Applications That Reduce Costs
Several dApps now exist with the direct purpose of helping you reduce the cost of transactions on the Ethereum network. For example, Rook helps bundle transactions together, thereby reducing fees. Similarly, using Balancer’s crypto vault can significantly reduce gas fees. Other dApps that offer discounts or subsidies can also be found in the crypto space.
Learn To Predict Network Congestion
While not ideal, it may prove necessary to strategize and carefully choose the moment when you wish for your transaction to be processed. Network congestion is brought about by the extreme use of the blockchain. To avoid this, you should stay aware of the latest news and development that can dramatically drive up demand for Ethereum.
Bundle Transactions When Possible
Gas fees vary based on the type of transaction, and, of course, you’ll pay gas fees for each subsequent transaction. This is why, when possible, it is ideal to group your ETH coins into one address. For example, this can be done when you wish to move ETH from a number of your crypto wallets into the same dApp.
Consider a Layer-1 Alternative
Ethereum’s position in the crypto ecosystem is unlikely to change for a while yet. Still, new blockchain networks have appeared in recent years, which offer much lower transaction fees and can process more transactions at higher speeds. The Solana network, for example, charges around $0.00025 per transaction. Cardano, NEAR Protocol, or Binance Smart Chain are other alternatives to consider.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ethereum gas prices tend to increase because of two factors: growth of the value of Ethereum cryptocurrency and an increase in demand for the Ethereum blockchain network. Simply put, gas fees are high because a lot of people wish to use the network.
Ethereum gas prices vary a lot, even from one hour to another. Statistically, it’s been shown that the lowest gas prices can be found around midday.
It is likely that Sharding technology, together with Layer-2 solutions, will help to eventually drive down the price of gas fees on the Ethereum network.
You can use several strategies to pay lower Ethereum gas fees. These include: using Layer-2 solutions or choosing a time for the transaction when traffic is lower.