Single phase gasoline-ethanol-water mixture was prepared for performing standardization with aqueous standards and for the elimination of difficulties with pipetting of gasoline. Standard addition calibration method was applied to the determination of Cu, Pb and Co in gasoline by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. Good agreements were found for the analysis results of the present "direct'' method compared with those obtained by digesting gasoline in microwave furnace with nitric acid. The limit of detection values were 1.5 μ g kg(-1) Co, 2.5 μ g kg(-1) Cu and 4.0 pg kg(-1) Pb in original gasoline samples. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.