© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.Since export has a key role in economic growth in terms of national production quantity, export quality can be considered another important factor regarding the revenue from the export product. Hence, both export and export quality can contribute to the economic growth process positively when the countries’ terms of trade have moved in a favorable direction from this point of view, it is essential to examine the relationship between the energy-growth nexus and export quality. Although available seminal studies are monitoring the energy-growth nexus, there exists a limited number of works employing the export quality. Besides, one might claim that there exists no research on how the terms of trade (export quality) alter the economic growth and energy use through regime shifts. Markov regime-shifting models estimate (a) the impact of export and terms of trade on growth, and (b) the effect of growth on the use of fossil energy and renewable energy for the USA at regime 1 and regime 2 for the period 1980:Q4-2019:Q2. After conducting the non-linear analyses, this paper (i) reveals the estimated parameters varying from one regime to another regime through transition probabilities, (ii) finds evidence that (a) export and export quality growths affect positively GDP growth, (b) GDP growth increases fossil fuel consumption growth, (c) renewable energy growth increases at decreasing rate due to GDP growth, and (iii) yields relevant energy-environmental policy proposals by underlying the prominence of terms of trade within growth-energy nexus.