Energy concious people are pretty good about making sure to turn lights off when they leave a room, but do they unplug their TVs and stereo systems as well? An article I found through google news brings up the point of "phantom energy". About 5% of our electricity bill goes to this standby power that our TV or stereo uses as it waits for the turn on code from the remote. That 5% comes out to $3 billion of waste.
Steps are being taken to combat this problem. This is the reason that computers now come with a sleep mode. They use 200 kW while in use and sleep mode has them only using 2-5 kW. The Energy Star rating for appliances applies to energy use in active and standby modes. Creating more efficient products in standby mode is definitely the way to go, because it is highly unlikely that we could get everyone to unplug appliances everytime they were done using them. However, one good way to help reduce some "phantom energy" is to unplug your chargers from the wall when they are done charging their devices because they still pull energy even if the device is not attached.