Rate adaptation in 802.11 WLANs has received a lot of attention from the research community, with most of the proposals aiming at maximising throughput based on network conditions. Considering energy consumption, an implicit assumption is that optimality in throughput implies optimality in energy efficiency, but this assumption has been recently put into question. In this paper, we address via analysis and experimentation the relation between throughput performance and energy efficiency in multi-rate 802.11 scenarios. We demonstrate the trade-off between these performance figures, confirming that they may not be simultaneously optimised, and analyse their sensitivity towards the energy consumption parameters of the device. Our results provide the means to design novel rate adaptation schemes that takes energy consumption into account.