A-Z: What is Gas?

2 min read

Blockchain A – Z covers all of the important topics you need to know if you’re just getting into blockchain! We go letter by letter with each episode defining a specific topic. By the end of the series, you’ll know your blockchain ABCs! Here we go over gas.

What is gas?

Gas is the resource cost that runs the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM for short). Gas and Ether are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same.

Ether is used to pay for gas, and from there, system computations. But Ether is not gas. Essentially, it is what powers the Ethereum network. It is used to transfer Ether or ERC-20 tokens from account to account.

In order for transactions to be sent and executed, the sender must pay a fee in units of gas. Each transactions fee depends on the operations, and therefore resources, required to compute the transaction.

When conducting a transaction, a gas price is selected. The higher the price, the more attractive the transaction is to mine, or confirm. Therefore the higher the gas price, the quicker your transaction will be mined. A gas limit can be set so if more gas is used than expected, the transaction will be canceled.

Gas price * Gas limit = The highest possible gas paid
Gas price * gas used (out of gas limit) = transaction fee


A great resource for figuring out details and information about gas when you’re preparing to send an Ether or ERC-20 transaction, is EthGasStation. They can help provide you with information that can ultimately prevent you from spending on unnecessary fees. Check out our demonstration tutorial so you can use it too. We also provide some more in depth details on the different components of gas in this post!

For more information on the differences between gas and Ether, head over to our Ask an Expert on the topic!

For more blockchain terminology and vocab, head over to our Blockchain Glossaries, where we have a wide range of terms you should definitely know!
Still aren’t sure? Let us know here!