INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The sun produces about 600 million metric tons of helium each second, but the supply on Earth is not a renewable resource.
According to The Associated Press, the cost of helium has increased more than 250% in recent years, and shortages have already begun.
Tyler Shives, co-owner of Banzi Balloons, said he got wind of the news two years ago but did not start feeling the impact immediately.
“I never really got concerned until last year,” he said.
“Last year, we had probably about a monthlong scare where my provider told me, ‘Hey, it’s not coming in.'”
Shives could see the problem more clearly once the price went up.
“The price per square foot on this helium has actually raised dramatically,” Shives said. “The market value for helium is much higher, so for a small company like me I can pay every time I need helium what that market value currently is.”
“I’m under no contractual agreements. Some of these big box retailers, they have contracts and those contracts do not currently meet the current rate of helium.”
Shives said he believes the spike in prices is a result of an attempt to regulate what’s left of the element and save it for more significant industries such as aerospace, military and medicine.
In the meantime, Shives said he is stocking up on as much helium as he can so the shortage doesn’t take the air out of his business.
“We have over 2,000 cubic feet of helium in our facility right now,” Shives said.