Mike Groll, AP
Jeff Hunter of Schenectady, N.Y., pumps gas at a Mobile station in Albany, N.Y., on Friday, March 16, 2012. Higher gas prices slow the economy because they force many consumers to cut their spending on other goods, from appliances and furniture to electronics and vacations.

Gas prices are rising quickly, but they may not hit consumers' wallets as hard as people think, according to CNNMoney.

High gas prices can effect families living paycheck-to-paycheck and those that drive a lot, according to the article. But for the average household in the U.S., which has an annual income of about $62,000, the rise in gas prices only changes a small portion of their overall spending.

For example, in 2008 gas prices were constantly on the news when they hit all-time highs. But when gas prices fell in 2010, it was hardly talked about, according to CNNMoney. But spending on gas was only $12 more a week in 2008 than in 2010, according to numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That $12 a week is about the same amount BLS figures show consumers spent on "pets, toys, hobbies and playground equipment."

"The incremental expenditure is not that much," Akshay Rao, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management who has studied gas prices, told CNNMoney. "But that's not how people think about it."

EMAIL: bbullock@desnews.com