Contextualising on the internationally low oil prices era and historically high oil production in USA and refusal to honour the commitments under Paris Agreement (COP: 21), this study investigates the role of education, oil prices and natural resources on energy demand and CO2 emissions in the USA for the period of 1976–2016. In so doing, we employed a bounds testing approach to cointegration accounting for structural breaks in the series. Key findings suggest the presence of a long-run association between underlying variables. The abundance of natural resources and economic growth of the US economy seem to weigh on environmental quality by increasing energy consumption and carbon emissions. Oil prices show a negative association with energy consumption as well as carbon emissions suggesting that a low oil prices regime can lead to an increase in carbon emissions and energy consumption. Interestingly, education seems to play an important role by reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, resultantly improving the US environmental quality. Our findings have profound environmental implications in terms of efforts to tackle climate change and meeting the Paris agreement (COP: 21) ambitions with reality and USA policy stance.