Florists and balloonists in North Texas and elsewhere say the prices they're paying for helium are sky-high.
The Fort Star-Telegram reports that helium is getting more expensive and more difficult to find. Francey Freeman, the owner of a Fort Worth balloon store, says prices have quadrupled with no signs of slowing down. Some grocery stores have stopped selling helium tanks altogether.
Texas is home to the nation's only federal helium reserve, located near Amarillo. But federal law requires the reserve to sell off all of its helium by 2015.
Some warn of a looming helium shortage and are calling on Congress to change the law.
Besides filling balloons, helium also cools MRI machines and is used in a variety of electronics.