Liquid chromatography (LC)/electro-chemistry/mass spectrometry (MS) with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) and electrospray ionization (ESI) has been used for the determination of several alcohols and alkylphenols in gasoline and diesel fuels. After rapid sample preparation and a derivatization step with ferrocenecarboxylic acid chloride, the LC separation resulted in complex chromatograms. Selected mass traces helped to identify several groups of alcohols and phenols. Only a sum parameter could be obtained for alcohols and phenols of the same molecular mass because of the large number of structural isomers that were not chromatographically resolved in the mass traces. The results for qualitative screening of seven gasoline and four diesel fuel samples are presented. Apart from alcohols and phenols, several other compounds were also found in the samples. Many of these unknown compounds could be arranged in four series of homologues with a mass difference of 14 mass units. The potential of the method to analyze alcohol and phenol patterns without chromatographic separation was studied using both nanospray and electrospray ion sources in combination with tandem-MS. © Springer-Verlag 2004.