Using iStat Menus, I tested the power usage of my MacBook Pro when idle and plugged in. When it was off the charger, it used around 5-6 W of power consistently. When I plugged it in, however, it used 6-7 W of power consistently. I repeated this multiple times over multiple days, and in general it uses more power for any task (or even when idling) when it is plugged in.
Why does the Mac use slightly more power when plugged in, when seemingly doing the same thing both times? Does the Mac underclock itself when it's running on battery power? Would underclocking still have an effect on power consumption is the laptop is idle?
Note: I had "dim display on battery" disabled, so it shouldn't be due to a change in monitor brightness.